Manitoba

Officers acquitted of obstructing justice

Two Winnipeg police officers have been acquitted of charges of obstructing justice in a drug trafficking case from 2008.

Two Winnipeg police officers have been acquitted of charges of obstructing justice in a drug trafficking case from 2008.

Const. Graeme Beattie and Const. Paul Clark both pleaded not guilty at their trial earlier this year.

"There is, in my view, nothing in the testimony of Constables Beattie or Clark that provides the Crown any basis for what was already an unsupported and speculative theory," Manitoba's Chief Justice Glenn Joyal stated in his written decision, released on Wednesday.

The case began after a senior federal Crown prosecutor discovered problems with notes the two officers filed as part of the drug bust.

Erin Magas testified the two officers confessed problems with their investigation before a preliminary hearing for the drug case.

The officers made a bust at a home on Redwood Avenue in May 2008 and arrested a man for trafficking cocaine.

They wrote in their notes they stopped at the home because they saw a scuffle in the yard. They also wrote in their notes a man in the yard dropped a bag of cocaine whenhe fled into the house.

But Magas testified the two officers told her there was no scuffle and they didn't know there was cocaine in the bag into after they chased the man into the house and arrested him.

The two officer's lawyers have argued there are inconsistencies in Magas' testimony and what she reported to the Winnipeg police.

Magas wrote a memo after the incident to the WPS, outlining her concerns with the officer's conduct.

But Magas misread or misunderstood the notes the two officers submitted, defense lawyers said.

Joyal said those inconsistencies in testimony "were minor in nature and were such that in this case, they support the suggestion that there was no attempt by Constables Beattie and Clark to fabricate a story or a completely 'unified version of events.'"

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