Sackville RCMP officer charged with assault, speaks out
Const. Zeran Hutson Simmonds says investigators response 'out of proportion'
A Sackville RCMP officer accused of assaulting his live-in girlfriend has spoken out for the first time since the charges were made public earlier this year.
Const. Zeran Hutson Simmonds, 30, is charged with three counts of assault involving his domestic partner.
Simmonds, who has been a member of the RCMP for five years, was charged after an investigation by Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team.
The team became involved after a woman called 911 in early January and alleged her common-law spouse assaulted her at a home in Beaver Bank. The assaults are alleged to have happened between Dec. 30, 2012 and Jan. 5, 2013.
In an exclusive interview, Simmonds told CBC News that the response by the SIRT investigators was "out of proportion."
He said he and his girlfriend are together now and their relationship is "fine."
Ron MacDonald, the SIRT's director, responded to the CBC's request for an interview.
"SIRT weighs the merits and probable cause before deciding to lay any charges in any investigation it conducts," he said.
MacDonald said in this case, investigators felt the charges were warranted.
He said he will not debate the charges in public and that it is now up to the court to decide if the charges are appropriate.
Simmonds is expected to enter a plea during his next scheduled court date on April 29.
The SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia, whether or not there is an allegation of wrongdoing.
It is required to file a public report within three months after concluding its investigation.