Saskatchewan police want appeal of spitting case
The Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers is upset about a recent court ruling that said it's an "urban myth" that police get serious diseases from being spat at.
Evan Bray, the president of the organization, said he wants the Crown to appeal Judge Felicia Daunt's Sept. 24 decision in connection with a spitting incident.
The provincial court judge sentenced a La Ronge woman to probation after she pleaded guilty to assaulting two police officers.
"This ruling trivialized the well-being of police officers and minimizes the very real risks they face every day," Bray said in a news release.
After being arrested for impaired driving, the woman spat in the eye of one of the officers.
The Crown prosecutor said due in part to the perceived risk of contracting such infections as HIV or hepatitis, her actions warranted a six-month jail sentence
Daunt summarized the Crown's position to say there has been an "epidemic" of police being spat at by suspects, so people like the La Ronge woman must be made an example of.
However, in her nine-page ruling, Daunt said the Crown wasn't able to provide evidence any "documented, verifiable" transmission of any disease to a police officer in a spitting incident.
Six months of probation — plus the five days the woman had already served in custody — is the appropriate sentence, Daunt said.
She said criminal suspects know police are terrified of being spat at, so that's why they do it.
"If we want to deter suspects from spitting on police officers, we need to educate these officers about the real risks involved, and not perpetuate their anxiety by repeating urban myths," she said.
Bray criticized these comments.
"When a police officer gets exposed to any bodily fluid while working, either by needle prick, blood exposure or spitting, they seek medical attention," he said. "The police officer is not making up the stress they feel."