New Brunswick

N.B. cop acted appropriately: expert

A New Brunswick police officer charged with assaulting an off-duty Canadian soldier during an arrest acted appropriately, according to a use-of-force expert who testified Friday.

Force consistent with guidelines, says defence witness

A New Brunswick police officer charged with assaulting an off-duty Canadian soldier during an arrest acted appropriately, according to a use-of-force expert who testified Friday.

Fredericton Const. Stephen Stafford is accused of assaulting Luc Begin while arresting him for obstruction outside a downtown bar in the summer of 2009.

A bystander filmed Stafford kneeing Begin in the back several times.

The trial resumed Friday, with defence lawyer T.J. Burke calling his final witness, Inspector Kelly Keith, an instructor with the Atlantic Police Academy.

Keith testified that Stafford used force that is consistent with national training guidelines and local guidelines. Keith added that a knee strike, if aimed at the meaty part of the thigh, is his his opinion, appropriate action.

Last month, Stafford had testified in his own defence that he had aimed for the nerve in the soldier's leg, which he described as standard training for a takedown and that he wasn't trying to hurt Begin.

Crown expert RCMP Sgt. Rich Walkinshaw, who also teaches use-of-force techniques, previously testified that Stafford's repeated knee strikes to a prone Begin were "troubling" and "over the top."

Stafford told the court that he was trying to help other officers in a dangerous situation. He said he felt Begin was going to overpower Const. Fred L'Oiseau and Cpl. Charlie Cameron and he was scared an officer would get hurt.

He said it took three knee strikes to get Begin to unlock his hands, which the soldier had clasped together when the officers attempted to handcuff him.

The trial, now in its eleventh day, continues. One lawyer has suggested this could be the longest trial for a summary charge in New Brunswick.