A Winnipeg police officer accused of falsifying his notes from a 2008 drug case has told a court that nothing in his notes was false.
Const. Paul Clark testified on Thursday in his trial, in which he and co-accused Const. Graeme Beattie have pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice.
The officers are accused of creating false police reports in a case against Isaac Chartrand, who was arrested for cocaine trafficking.
The case stemmed from a drug investigation at a home in the 600 block of Redwood Avenue in May 2008.
The charges against Chartrand were stayed that fall — just as his preliminary hearing was about to begin — when a federal Crown prosecutor found problems with the reports and notes the two officers had prepared on the investigation.
The prosecutor in question, Erin Magas, testified earlier this week that the officers confessed to her that their notes were not accurate.
But as Clark began testifying on Thursday, Clark told the court there was nothing improper in his notes, which he described as accurate.
Entered yard of Redwood home
Clark also said he believed he and Beattie had legal grounds to enter the backyard of the Redwood Avenue home and make an arrest.
Clark said he and Beattie had carried out a traffic stop earlier that day, and the woman they searched said she believed a man on Redwood Avenue was pushing drugs.
Near the end of their shift, the officers said they drove by the home on Redwood and heard yelling from a backyard, Clark said.
Clark testified that he saw about four men "shoving each other." He wrote in his notes that they "appear to be fighting."
The two officers entered the yard and found four men sitting there. One of the men got up and headed for the house, dropping a bag containing tinfoil pieces, Clark said.
Beattie arrested the man, who would later be identified as Chartrand. Clark said bags of crack cocaine were found there.
Discrepancies found in notes
Clark testified that a week or so before the preliminary hearing, he went through his notes and reports from the drug investigation and noticed a couple of discrepancies.
One discrepancy involved a photograph of Chartrand taken on the day he was arrested — he was shown in a shirt that was in a lighter colour than the one he was arrested in — and the other involved the narrative about where and when Chartrand allegedly dropped a bag of crack cocaine, court heard.
Clark also testified that there was a video camera fixed onto the side of the Redwood Avenue house, and he and Beattie wanted to make sure the Crown was not surprised by whatever the camera had recorded of the incident.
Magas testified that Beattie and Clark approached her just before the preliminary hearing was set to begin and raised concerns about a video camera that was mounted on the side of the house.
Magas said the two officers then admitted that what happened and what was in their notes were two different series of events.
Magas said the officers told her there was no scuffle and they had driven past the Redwood home knowing it was a crack house.
The officers went into the yard and the four men did scatter, and someone did drop a baggie on the ground, but the officers didn't check what was in the bag, Magas said.
Prosecutor was angry, Clark said
Clark recounted his version of the officers' meeting with Magas, describing the prosecutor as "curt."
"I was intimidated by her," Clark told the court. "She was angry with us."
According to Clark, Magas told them, "If I put you on the stand you could be charged with perjury, and your careers aren't worth $6,000 worth of crack."
Magas then went back to court and stayed the charges against Chartrand.
Magas said she also told her supervisor about what happened, and she was told to write up a memo and send it to Winnipeg's police chief.
Clark said he was shocked by what happened, as he did not intend to make false entries into his notes or intentionally subvert the course of justice.
When asked if he thought he would have done anything differently in the case, Clark replied, "I would never let anyone, regardless of their rank in society, talk to me in that way," referring to Magas.
The trial continues on Friday. Defence lawyers would not say if Beattie will testify.