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Hamilton cop suspended 2 weeks for helping friend with $40 traffic ticket

Const. Don Sauve will be off duty for two weeks without pay.

A 17-year Hamilton police veteran has been suspended for two weeks without pay after voiding a $40 traffic ticket for someone driving 10 km/h over the speed limit.

Const. Don Sauve pleaded guilty at a Police Act Hearing Wednesday to one count of discreditable conduct. Six other counts including three counts of deceit were dropped.

Sauve had also been charged criminally with obstructing justice and theft, but those charges have been dropped. He has been on paid suspension since Feb. 20.

At the hearing, Sauve apologized for what police lawyer Marco Visentini called "favouritism."

"I definitely have learned my lesson, and I apologize," Sauve said. "You wont see this again from me."

According to an agreed statement of facts in the case, the issue started when another officer named Const. Lindsay Dobroski pulled over a car from going 60 km/h in a 50 km/h zone on Upper James Street last January.

The public does not expect an officer to act this way.- Marco Visentini, police lawyer

Dobroski issued the woman who was driving a $40 ticket, and a warning for driving with a busted headlight. The driver had 72 hours to bring the repaired vehicle to any police station to show it had been fixed.

Later, the driver's husband – who is a friend of Sauve's – texted him to see if he could "do anything about it," documents show. Sauve first approached Dobroski about it and then asked his supervisor – Sgt. Dave LeClair – for access a secure box where ticket receipts are kept.

"LeClair, despite knowing that consideration was being shown in respect of a legally issued ticket, permitted access to the secure lock box," the documents read.

Sauve voided the ticket. Later, an administrator who was processing the tickets noticed something was amiss and alerted management. Sauve was subsequently charged.

During the hearing, police prosecutor Marco Vistenti said that the service had, "worked tirelessly to ensure traffic safety" and that Sauve had "undermined that commitment."

"The public does not expect an officer to act this way," Visentini said.

Sauve's counsel Bernard Cummins noted that his client is a "well respected" member of the service. He has been awarded member of the month on three occasions, and was named officer of the year in 2004.

"He has a spotless record, and is well liked," Cummins said. "He acknowledged his wrongdoing and took responsibility for his conduct."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

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