Con­sta­ble de­nies doc­tor­ing his notes

Is­sue comes up in fake-ticket trial of for­mer AC­TION team mem­bers

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NICOLE O’REILLY The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor nor­eilly@thes­ 905-526-3199 | @Ni­coleatTheSpec

A Hamil­ton po­lice of­fi­cer ac­cused of writ­ing fake tick­ets de­nied doc­tor­ing his notes at the trial of four for­mer AC­TION unit of­fi­cers.

“I’m go­ing to sug­gest that’s what you did, to doc­tor your notes,” pros­e­cu­tor David King said Wed­nes­day, re­fer­ring to what he said was a time changed in Const. Steve Travale’s note­book.

Travale de­nied this. He also de­nied King’s as­ser­tion that Travale didn’t re­ally re­mem­ber hand­ing out at least one of the tick­ets in ques­tion but is ac­tu­ally piec­ing to­gether what could have hap­pened from other ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing notes, tick­ets and other records.

“Would you agree you didn’t ac­tu­ally re­mem­ber,” King said, push­ing the of­fi­cer for other de­tails about the day, which he could not pro­vide.

“I have a rec­ol­lec­tion that I never wrote a ticket when I was not work­ing,” Travale said.

Court also heard from Const. Daniel Wil­liams for the first time Wed­nes­day. Like his co-ac­cused, he tes­ti­fied to poor note-tak­ing and de­nied writ­ing false tick­ets. “I un­for­tu­nately got into a bad habit of not mak­ing notes on ev­ery oc­ca­sion ... a habit I re­gret,” he said. Wil­liams later added “I was con­sis­tently in­con­sis­tent.”

He told the court he re­mem­bers writ­ing the two tick­ets re­lated to his charges, be­cause they were writ­ten dur­ing Su­per­crawl.

The of­fi­cers face ac­cu­sa­tions they fab­ri­cated tick­ets in 2014. All were mem­bers of AC­TION (Ad­dress­ing Crime Trends in Our Neigh­bour­hoods), a unit cre­ated to main­tain a highly vis­i­ble pres­ence largely down­town on bike or foot. A sig­nif­i­cant part of an AC­TION of­fi­cer’s job was is­su­ing pro­vin­cial of­fence notices for ev­ery­thing from rid­ing bikes on side­walks to pub­lic drunk­en­ness. Court pre­vi­ously heard the unit was ex­pected to gen­er­ate 4,000 tick­ets a year.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan Sept. 19, 2014, when some green copies of tick­ets, copies sup­posed to go to the of­fender, were dis­cov­ered in a bin for shred­ding. Wil­liams tes­ti­fied that when the two men he tick­eted on Sept. 12, 2014 re­fused their tick­ets, he “didn’t know what else to do with them” so he put them in the shred­der box. It was a prac­tice he said he learned from watch­ing other of­fi­cers and didn’t think there was any­thing wrong with it.

Wil­liams tes­ti­fied he was in the sta­tion when other of­fi­cers opened the shred­der box. He was later ap­proached by other of­fi­cers af­ter the of­fi­cer who found the tick­ets, Trevor Holmes, re­ported his con­cerns.

Wil­liams tes­ti­fied that Holmes “blew the whole thing out of pro­por­tion,” call­ing the ac­cu­sa­tions “ridicu­lous.”

The trial, which be­gan in Novem­ber, also heard from two other ac­cused con­sta­bles, Bhu­pesh Gu­lati and Shawn Smith, as well as a num­ber of the peo­ple al­legedly tar­geted by the ticket scheme.

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