New Brunswick

Fredericton constable who falsified reports had ongoing performance issues

A Fredericton police constable who has admitted to falsifying reports had been struggling in his role and questioning his career choice for a year and a half at the time.

Zach Coady admitted to filing false reports in five cases, sixth in dispute

Zach Coady admitted that he closed investigations without contacting complainants, and falsified details in some reports. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

A Fredericton police constable who has admitted to falsifying reports had been struggling in his role and questioning his career choice for a year and a half at the time.

In a report submitted to an arbitration hearing in the case of Zach Coady, the initial officer Insp. Scott Patterson wrote Coady had been having "ongoing developmental and performance concerns."

Coady, 28, originally denied the charges of discreditable conduct, neglect of duty and engaging in deceit in November of last year, but admitted to them Monday.

The charges are related to Coady's claims he visited crime scenes or contacted people when he did not.

An audit of Coady's investigations found that six of 17 reports he'd written had false or inaccurate entries. In a statement of facts presented Tuesday, Coady and the police force agreed that he had falsified reports in five of the six investigations.

The sixth, pertaining to a stolen licence plate from Wood Motors Ford in Fredericton, is still in dispute. On Thursday, Kim Scott will testify about what happened when she filed the theft report.

Patterson will also testify.

The inciting incident

In his report, Patterson wrote that on Sept. 14, 2017, Coady was called to a meeting with Chief Leanne Fitch, Deputy Chief Gaudet, Patterson and a union representative to discuss his "poor work performance."

That meeting also covered the incident that led to the current hearing — a complaint that Coady did not follow up on a report of theft of $25,000 worth of audio equipment from the New Brunswick legislature.

The statement of fact said Coady denied getting any emails from the complainant and denied falsifying any other reports, both of which were found to be untrue.

Jamie Eddy, the lawyer representing Chief Leanne Fitch, said if Coady had falsified reports even after he was told there was going to be an audit, it would show that he did not appreciate the severity of his actions. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

It was during this meeting that Coady was told all his 2017 cases would be audited. 

The Wood Motors Ford theft investigation took place on Sept. 21, 2017, after Coady was informed of the audit.

Jamie Eddy, the lawyer representing Fitch, said if Coady had falsified reports even after he was told his cases would be audited, it suggests he did not appreciate the severity of his actions.

Meeting with Patterson

After the meeting on Sept. 14, Coady met with Patterson in his office.  

Patterson said Coady became "visibly emotional" during the hour-long meeting and said he was struggling with his career choices.

Patterson said he was concerned for Coady's safety and emotional wellbeing because of what "this struggle and weight of the burden was doing to him emotionally."

He suggested Coady talk to his father, a retired Fredericton police officer. During a follow-up conversation by text message that night, Coady told Patterson he was "trying to build up the balls to chat with my dad."

On Sept. 27, 2017, Patterson got a text from Coady asking to meet. They met alone and Coady told Patterson he had bad news to share. 

Despite numerous cautions from Patterson that he should have a union representative present, Coady confessed that he'd never replied to the legislature complainant, and disclosed several other cases in which he'd neglected his duty. 

 He said he "wanted to get this off my chest and and put this behind me."

Patterson then called a union representative, and soon after, the complaint under the Police Act was lodged.

The hearing is expected to go beyond Thursday.

With files from Catherine Harrop