July 24, 2018 by The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER – A Delta, B.C., police officer who ticketed drivers for offences that didn’t happen has won a review of the suspension and demotion proposed by the province’s police complaint commissioner.
Const. Byron Ritchie was seeking a public hearing after a misconduct hearing upheld 11 allegations of deceit committed under the Police Act, in 2016.
Ritchie was seconded that year to the Greater Vancouver Integrated Road Safety Unit when a driver complained she had been pulled over while on her cellphone, but had instead been ticketed for not having insurance and not wearing a seatbelt.
Documents from the complaint commission investigation show the driver had proper insurance papers and was wearing a seatbelt but Ritchie told her she was “getting a break” because the combined fines for the offences were less than a ticket for distracted driving.
An investigation ordered by the complaint commission uncovered 10 similar incidents, but after learning of his demotion and other penalties, Ritchie requested a public hearing, arguing findings of fact made by the commissioner weren’t supported by the final investigation report.
Complaint commissioner Stan Lowe says a public hearing is not required to restore public confidence in the misconduct probe but retired provincial court judge James Threlfall has been appointed to review the record and make a final decision about any discipline.
If Threlfall supports Lowe’s decision, Ritchie would face demotion from first class to second class constable for 12 months and would also be suspended without pay for 22 days – two days for each of the 11 offences – and be required to work under close supervision for a year.