Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Cop gets benched for telling the truth

with 2 comments

There was a certain inevitability to Calgary Police Service Constable Shaun Horne getting suspended by the department for his outspoken comments after a Justice of the Peace released a career criminal without so much as a “By your leave” to the officer.

Horne called the decision by JP Kristine Robideaux a mockery and a joke, which of course it was. After all, the man in the dock had already amassed 65 criminal convictions plus a great many other arrests in cases that he wasn’t charged and convicted given the vagaries of a fundamentally broken system.I should add by the way, that after Robideaux released the man over the objections of Cst. Horne, he didn’t abide by his conditions and failed to show for his next court appearance. Yeah, I know, big shock huh?

Well possibly Robideaux was shocked. But, I suspect no one else connected to the justice system was. Robideaux, as an aside, is a lawyer by profession and also doubles as a board member for the Legal Aid Society. Legal Aid Societies across Canada have been plagued by incredible inefficiencies as they struggle to meet their objectives while being abused by lawyers representing major organized crime figures in complex conspiracy cases. (See Legal Aid System is flawed for more on the subject)

Now there’s no question that Cst. Horne should not have said publicly what he did. Certainly not in the manner that he did at any rate. That was unprofessional. But the message it sent was bona fide and it is high time that the purveyors of so-called justice heard it. As a side note, Horne’s defense team tried to subpoena the good lady JP, but that was quashed by somebody higher up in the administration of the provincial courts. Perish the thought that the officer should be able to mount a mitigating defense against the three discreditable conduct charges levied against him.

As another side note, the presenting officer, Inspector Paul Manuel, is the same fellow who was the duty officer the night members of CPS executed the now-infamous search warrant on the home of Nancy Killian Constant which started her beleagured six-year journey to get justice. An allegation of neglect of duty, following the investigation conducted by Inspector Brian Whitelaw, was levied against Manuel in that case for failing to properly review the warrant before authorizing the officers to enter the home late at night.

And clearly he failed in his oversight duty, as evidenced by the return of the empty warrant and the subsequent revelations about altering of notebooks to support the Information to Obtain. In my opinion, there is no possibility a thorough review of that warrant process, in the manner claimed by Chief Jack Beaton, was conducted, assuming the reviewing officer’s competence. As I have said before (Stench from apparent police cover-up won’t go away) the grounds in the ITO were thin at best and in other jurisdictions would not have been sufficient for a warrant.

Apparently Constable Horne, while right in his assessment of the justice system, didn’t have the friends in high places needed to ensure he paid no penalty for the transgression of telling the truth.

Leo Knight
leo@primetimecrime.com

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Written by Leo Knight

December 14, 2006 at 4:37 pm

Posted in Crime & Punishment

2 Responses

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  1. It is with interest that I have followed this Constable’s case and I agree it was unprofessional but the viable question is what drove a 26 year officer with a spotless record to snap? Clearly it would be the culmination of a failing system both in CPS and in the justice system as a whole. He put the interests of this city before his own and for that he has been punished based on political agenda.

    At the risk of redundancy, an abomination that clearly demonstrates the agenda driven politics of this system.

    I, for one, feel this officer should have been commended in the spirit of his message. Constable Horne can retire knowing that he honoured his calling and said what clearly needed to be said in the interests of public safety in keeping with the mandate of his chosen profession.

    He proved himself to be honourable right to the bitter end when he didn’t go on bended knee to take the pro-offered deal or the easy way out. He stood on principle at cost to himself.

    What was Manuel thinking when he tried to shake his hand and wish him well in his retirement?! Good on Horne for turning his back on that empty gesture and making his point.

    It’s a sad end to a long career but it does prove without a doubt that there are good officers with an inherent value system left.

    I wish this officer well in his future endeavours. He’s to be congratulated!

    Anonymous

    December 14, 2006 at 8:04 pm

  2. ” A Joke and a Mockery”
    >
    > As a mother of a child murdered, July 2005, and Founder of F.A.C.T.
    > Families Against Crime & Trauma, I have seen first hand the mockery our
    > Criminal Justice System has become. I want to praise Const. Horne, for
    > standing up to the Courts, for what he truly believes in. The victims, and
    > the families that are left behind scrambling to pick up the pieces, are
    > doled a life sentence, of fear and grief. The Criminals rights in these
    > matters seem to always supersede those of the victims. The families I have
    > banded with to fight for changes, are frustrated with our legal system, and
    > the Judges who hand out punishments that do not fit the crimes.
    >
    > Law abiding citizens have become a minority in Canada. If these judges don’t
    > set a precedence, we are going to start seeing many Canadians taking these
    > matters into their own hands. We have allowed the criminal element so much
    > freedom that they no longer fear prosecution. Offenders in this country
    > enjoy all the rights and privileges our Charter of rights entails, but
    > suffer no consequences for their actions.
    >
    > The victims of crime deserve the same rights, privileges and freedoms that
    > are so often used by the predators that perpetrate crime. The freedom to
    > live without fear, to walk in our parks, to not be victimized. Strict
    > penalties, that are supposed to balance individual freedoms against the good
    > of the community, have been legislated out of existence or watered down by
    > the courts. The Justice System has become merely a legal system.
    >
    > Part of the statements Const. Horne made might be seen as inappropriate, but
    > hardly worth besmirching the reputation and career of a dedicated officer
    > with 25 or more years in pubic service. Const. Horne only said out loud what
    > most police officers are thinking. We salute your honesty and integrity
    > Const. Horne.
    >
    >
    > Sincerely,
    > Sandra Martins-Toner
    > Vancouver, BC
    > Executive Director F.A.C.T.
    > Families Against Crime & Trauma
    > http://www.familiesagainstcrime.org
    > 604-338-1411

    Anonymous

    December 15, 2006 at 5:05 am


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