Delta police officer investigated for issuing tickets for violations that didn't occur

According to the investigation, the officer told a driver she was "getting a break" as the combined fees of the tickets he issued her were less than the distracted driving ticket she should have received.

Const. Byron Ritchie, the subject of the complaint, has been granted a review

A member of the public complained after his wife received a ticket for "failure to wear a seat belt" and "failure to produce vehicle insurance" when she had been stopped for talking on her cell phone while driving. (Getty Images)

A Delta, B.C., police officer has been recommended for disciplinary action after a member of the public complained he was issuing tickets unrelated to violations committed, says the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. 

However, Const. Byron Ritchie, the subject of the complaint, has been granted a review.

The complaint against Ritchie was from a member of the public whose wife was issued a ticket on July 15, 2016. She was stopped by Ritchie after she had been observed talking on her cell phone while driving. 

Instead of issuing a distracted driving ticket, Ritchie issued the driver a violation ticket for "failure to wear a seat belt" and "failure to produce vehicle insurance."

The driver said she had been wearing a seatbelt and produced insurance as requested. 

According to the investigation, Ritchie told the driver she was "getting a break" as the combined fees of the tickets he issued her were less than a distracted driving ticket. 

Conduct 'deceitful'

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner ordered an investigation on the basis that Ritchie's conduct constituted deceit as he was knowingly issuing motor vehicle violation tickets in relation to offences he knew had not been committed. 

At the disciplinary proceeding, investigators found 11 different instances where Ritchie knowingly issued tickets for an offence that did not occur.

Ritchie denied the 11 allegations were deceitful. 

Disciplinary action recommended

The discipline authority made several recommendations:

  • That Ritchie's rank be reduced for 12 months from First Class Constable to Second Class Constable. 
  • That he be suspended without pay for two days for each of the 11 offences, totalling 22 days without pay. 
  • And that he work under close supervision for a year and participate in a return to work plan to the satisfaction of his supervisors. 

Currently seeking review of decision

Ritchie sought and has successfully been granted a review. A retired judge has been appointed to review all the documents related to the investigation to determine whether any disciplinary action should be taken. 

James Threfall has been appointed to oversee the review. A date has yet to be set.

Threfall's decision will be the final, conclusive outcome.

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