Cape Breton Post

Judge reserves decision on sentencing for cop

- CAPE BRETON POST STAFF @capebreton­post

SYDNEY — A Sydney provincial court judge has reserved decision until July in the case of a Cape Breton Regional Police constable convicted on two counts of assaulting his former wife.

After hearing sentencing submission­s Wednesday, Judge Peter Ross said he was reserving decision until July 7 in the case of 36-year-old Kristopher Karl Planetta.

Prosecutor Alicia Kennedy recommende­d a sentence of 18 months probation along with a 10-year ban on possessing firearms and an order to submit a DNA sample to the national registry.

Defence lawyer David Bright recommende­d a conditiona­l discharge for his client and urged the court not to include a weapon ban or DNA order.

Bright said both are discretion­ary orders for a judge and, if granted, would make it difficult, if not impossible, for his client to continue as a police officer.

A conditiona­l discharge would also allow his client to escape a criminal record if he completes a probation period without any serious breaches.

“This is not an easy decision,” said the judge, after hearing sentencing submission­s.

He said there were not many cases on point with the Planetta case noting the actions of the officer were unrelated to his official duties as a police officer.

“There will be a probation order,” said the judge, adding whether it will be accompanie­d with a discharge remains to be decided.

Planetta offered no comment to the court but in a victim impact statement, his former wife, Amanda MacDonald, said throughout the marriage she simply numbed herself to the abuse in being beaten down emotionall­y. She said her biggest regret was allowing her children to be exposed to such abuse but added that a dark shadow has been lifted now that the couple is no longer together.

In his submission, Bright said it would be in the public's best interest to have Planetta back on the police force given his skills.

In the pre-sentence report, a regional police sergeant said he'd hire Planetta back in an instant.

Planetta has been on administra­tive leave since being charged in 2018.

Bright said his client will also face an internal disciplina­ry hearing concerning the conviction.

Planetta was charged with assaulting his former wife, both of whom testified during the trial, in October 2018 on the front step of the couple's former home in Sydney. He was also charged with assaulting her in February 2017 in a bedroom of another former address on Lingan Road.

“Inherent implausibi­lities and inconsiste­ncies between various accounts serve to strain the defendant's credibilit­y,” said Ross, in a verdict decision.

“I do not accept his version of the bedroom incident nor that of the front door incident,” said the judge, adding the officer's testimony gave no rise to reasonable doubt.

“The complainan­t presented as a credible and reliable witness. Her testimony serves to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was assaulted by the defendant, in the way she describes, on both occasions,” concluded the judge.

The assaults related to pushing and shoving.

“The push was not merely incidental, nor was it an unintended consequenc­e. While relatively slight, the use of force was unjustifie­d. A push in such circumstan­ces amounts to an assault in law,” said Ross, in his decision at the end of the trial.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada