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Cpl. Blair Ross told the CBC in 2008 that dealing with child pornography cases left him feeling "helpless." ((CBC))

An Island RCMP officer has been given a suspended sentence for assault.

Cpl. Blair Ross, 46, pleaded guilty to assaulting a man last September.

The court heard Ross is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Ross's lawyer said Friday that the assault is an incident of which his client is not only ashamed, but regrets.

Last September while off duty, Ross pushed and shoved a younger man during a disagreement, and ripped his shirt. Ross had been drinking at the time.

After he was charged, Ross took a leave from the RCMP. He spent two months in treatment for alcohol problems at a facility in Ontario.

He has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, related to his work in child pornography investigations.

CBC interviewed him during one of those cases and at the time he acknowledged the strain.

"As an officer who has to look at this stuff, and realize there's victims somewhere in the world, you have this overwhelming feeling of helplessness," said Ross in February 2008.

This isn't Ross' first brush with the courts. In 1998, he received a conditional discharge for a similar assault involving a woman.

In court on Friday, Ross's lawyer told the court his client hasn't had a drink since the latest incident.

Judge Nancy Orr heard jail time would end the officer's career. She gave him a suspended sentence allowing him to continue working and recovering.

Orr put Ross on probation for two years and ordered him to do 100 hours of community service work.

Before he was charged, Ross was stationed with the Montague detachment. He remains on desk duty while the RCMP finish their own internal investigation.

The RCMP doesn't release results of internal investigations but they say the penalties can include a reprimand, suspension or discharge from the force.