Calgary cop 'happy' after being found not guilty of stealing seized marijuana

A Calgary police officer who took marijuana home which he seized while on duty has been found not guilty of all charges. Robert Cumming, 44, was charged in 2016.

Robert Cumming was charged in June 2016 with breach of trust, theft and possession of a controlled substance

Calgary police Const. Robert Cumming says he's "happy" after being acquitted of charges relating to stealing marijuana but isn't sure he wants to return to CPS because he feels he was treated "pretty poorly." (Meghan Grant/CBC)

​A Calgary police officer who took a bag of seized marijuana home has been found not guilty of all charges but says he's not sure if he wants to return to work after being treated "pretty poorly" by the service.

Robert Cumming, 44, was acquitted of charges of breach of trust, theft under $5,000 and possession of a controlled substance, accused of taking an ounce of marijuana to his house instead of logging it as property at the district office. 

As Cumming walked out of the Calgary Courts Centre on Tuesday, the constable was asked if he would would be returning to the Calgary Police Service.

"I'm not sure if I really want to," said Cumming before explaining he feels he's been treated poorly. 

"I don't want to say too much right now.… I'm happy."

Last year, Cumming was set up in a sting when he was given a backpack full of marijuana by an undercover officer.

Police then and observed him taking it home; first putting it in a garbage can in an alley behind his house and then, hours later, surveillance officers watched as he retrieved it and brought it inside. 

It was that first step of placing the marijuana in the garbage outside his home that left provincial court Judge Jerry LeGrandeur with reasonable doubt.

LeGrandeur said if Cumming was taking the marijuana home for the purpose of using it himself, he would likely have brought it in his house right away since he didn't know he was being watched by a surveillance unit.

"I can not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to keep the marijuana for personal use," said LeGrandeur.

Former partner also facing charges

Cumming's lawyer, Paul Brunnen, painted his client as a "lazy police officer" who didn't want to get caught up in 90 minutes of paperwork by bringing the marijuana to his district office for processing.

During his testimony, Cumming said he had no plans to use the pot himself despite the fact he smokes for depression, anxiety and insomnia but did admit to breaching policy when he took the backpack of marijuana home. 

Cumming initially came onto police radar as CPS was investigating several other officers for corruption-related offences. Text messages between Cumming and his then-partner Const. Bryan Morton were intercepted, prompting a separate, seven-month investigation. 

Morton and five others — mostly current, former and civilian CPS members — are facing unrelated allegations of corruption, harassment and breach of trust.

Cumming was suspended from duty without pay pending the outcome of his trial. CPS will now review that status.

In a written statement to CBC News, CPS said its professional standards unit will now conduct an in-service investigation
"to determine if there were any contraventions under the Police Act."

"[The service] respects the judicial process and today's decision by Judge Jerry LeGrandeur."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.