RNC Sgt. Tim Buckle investigation passed on to Crown's office: police chief
Phone conversation at centre of investigation
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary chief Bill Janes has handed over an investigation into the conduct of a high-ranking officer in Corner Brook to the provincial Crown's office.
A telephone conversation between Sgt. Tim Buckle and now-suspended Const. Sean Kelly, released during Kelly's indecent phone call trial, raised eyebrows about Buckle's handling of the case.
In a statement released Wednesday, Chief Bill Janes said the case has been forwarded on to the director of public prosecutions, following a complaint lodged by a member of the public.
At the time, Const. Janelle Curtis was investigating a complaint from young woman who said she had received an indecent phone call to her place of work on Oct. 17, 2012.
When the officer tracked the number that called the woman, it was revealed that the call was made from Kelly's cell phone.
Curtis passed the information on to her supervisor, Buckle, who then called Kelly.
The following transcription was provided in Judge Wayne Gorman's decision, outlining Buckle's involvement in Kelly's case.
Mr. Kelly: Hello.
Sgt. Buckle: Sean.
Mr. Kelly: Hey.
Sgt. Buckle: What are you at?
Mr. Kelly: Nothing.
Sgt. Buckle: Listen what are you doing calling harassing young women?
Mr. Kelly: I'm not man.
Sgt. Buckle: This is Buckle.
Mr. Kelly: What's up?
Sgt. Buckle: This is Buckle. Listen this is the problem now. That we're, we're jammed up in and how to get around this, and documenting shit in the file. [Const. Curtis] came to me and said, 'What do I do with this?' Do I put it in the file or not.
Mr. Kelly: Right on.
Sgt. Buckle: But here's the problem you got to come up with somebody that called that number twice that used your phone. Like...
Mr. Kelly: Holy f--k.
Sgt. Buckle: Like, like this is on record with Bell Aliant, that cell number called that, that location twice and the lady is saying that the perp called her twice, around the same time.
Mr. Kelly: Jesus Christ.
Sgt. Buckle: So we're kind of jammed up here in what we do.
Mr. Kelly: I don't know man; I honestly don't know what to f--king tell ya.
Sgt. Buckle goes on to tell Kelly, "Well like I said she got to document it and put it in the file so I just give you a head's up that if it goes any further than that or any other questions are asked. Because [Const. Curtis] can't not put it in because she's going to have to do a production order from Bell Aliant, now they gave her the numbers off at this point just off the cuff right. So she could start her follow up because missus is concerned. But she got a list of numbers so she got to explain what follow ups she did on each of the numbers."
Mr. Kelly: My buddy I don't know what to tell ya. I went in the office this morning ... And aw, I went out of the office because Kenny Maher was leaving he brought in donuts and that; we had a meeting in the office.
Sgt. Buckle, who testified that he didn't consider Kelly as a suspect at the onset, goes on to say, "Yeah, anyway I'm finding it kind of funny actually; but like I said just to give ya a head's up in case somebody asks ya any further questions. Obviously she got no choice but put this in the file because it's, it's from Bell Aliant right.
Mr. Kelly: Yeah, no man. I got absolutely no idea.
Sgt. Buckle: Yeah.
Mr. Kelly: You know, I don't know. I honestly don't know what to tell ya.
Sgt. Buckle: Stick with that story.
Sgt. Buckle: Alright. Well anyway, just wanted to let ya, give you a head's up in case anything comes of it, right. And, well in case people start questioning further or whatever.
Mr. Kelly: Right on.
Sgt. Buckle: Just, just so you got, just so you know what's coming.
Mr. Kelly: F--k. I don't know what the f--k. I don't even know what to f--king say.
Sgt. Buckle: Yeah, not much you can say.
Kelly was convicted of making the indecent call and causing mischief by attempting to pin the crime on a police source in February.
He was sentenced to 10 months in jail this week, but was released shortly after on bail pending an appeal of his sentence.
Kelly is suspended without pay, while his conduct is being reviewed by the RNC Professional Standards Branch.
Janes said Buckle's conduct had already been investigated by the senior officer in St. John's and the RNC's legal unit, who concluded no charges should be laid against him.
It is not unusual for the Crown to review RNC files, Janes said.
In addition to the phone call between Buckle and Kelly, Judge Gorman noted that Buckle was Kelly's Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association President and representative, "creating a significant conflict of interest."
Janes said the force no longer allows leaders of the association to investigate other RNC officers.