Constable denies doctoring his notes
Issue comes up in fake-ticket trial of former ACTION team members
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.