A Sunshine Coast RCMP member received a suspended sentence and one-year probation after pleading guilty to assaulting a man during a 2011 traffic stop.
Cpl. Murray McNeil was sentenced on Aug. 2 in North Vancouver provincial court.
Under the terms of the sentence, McNeil was ordered to have no contact with the complainant, except through legal counsel, and to pay $500 in restitution to the complainant by Sept. 30, Crown counsel spokesman Neil MacKenzie said.
“He’s to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and report to a probation officer as directed,” MacKenzie said. “There’s also an order that he has to pay a victim fine surcharge of $50.”
In a statement released to media after the sentencing, RCMP E Division spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said: “We respect the decision of the court. This highlights that our members are held to a high standard. They are accountable to the public through the court process and accountable to the RCMP through the discipline process.”
McNeil is currently operational and no date has been set for his disciplinary hearing.
“We can’t speculate on the outcome of his upcoming disciplinary hearing,” Vermeulen said.
McNeil was originally charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm, but pleaded guilty on May 27 to the lesser charge of common assault.
The charge stemmed from an incident that occurred during a traffic stop on June 28, 2011. A 57-year-old man who was arrested at the time, but never charged, complained to the Commission for Public Complaints and the RCMP launched an internal investigation.
The RCMP said McNeil has been working out of the Sunshine Coast detachment under close supervision while his case was before the courts.
Meanwhile, the complainant, James Thumm, filed a civil claim against McNeil on May 17 naming the B.C. Justice Minister as co-defendant.
In his claim, Thumm alleged he was pulled over near the intersection of Highway 101 and Mills Road in the District of Sechelt, and “got out of his vehicle and walked back in the direction of Cpl. McNeil’s marked police vehicle.”
McNeil, according to the claim, got out of his vehicle, approached Thumm and, “without warning or cause,” commenced to assault Thumm.
Thumm, identified in the claim as a property assessor, is seeking damages for physical injuries sustained during the assault, post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety, as well as loss of income and breach of Charter rights.
No statements of defence have been filed and no allegations in Thumm’s claim have been proven in court.