Nanaimo Mountie sentenced to probation for assault conviction

NANAIMO – If probation conditions and community service are met, Const. Derek Brown will have no criminal record.

A Nanaimo RCMP constable, found guilty of assault in Nanaimo provincial court in September, was given a conditional discharge by a judge Thursday.

Const. Derek Brown, 29, was charged with assault after an August 2011 incident, where he used excessive force on a 47-year-old woman who was being fingerprinted at the Nanaimo detachment.

Brown will be on probation for nine months and must complete 100 hours of community service. He will have no criminal record if conditions are met, said Bert King, Brown’s legal counsel.

During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, the court heard that Brown was outside the fingerprinting room, observing for about two or three minutes before entering after determining that the officer in the room did not have control of the situation, where the woman was verbally abusive. The court heard Brown used an arm-bar hold on the woman for about 28 seconds.

The woman did not require medical assistance but indicated she had a pre-existing shoulder injury.

Judge Roderick Sutton said Brown shouldn’t have entered the room but it was apparent that this was a momentary lapse of judgement on Brown’s part.

King said Sutton’s ruling was well-considered and there were a lot of factors to weigh. Brown is a good, young cop, in King’s estimation.

“[Brown] was, to be blunt, devastated with the conviction,” said King. “He ran a trial and he was of the view hopefully, that he would have been acquitted but he’s today delighted to have it over with and to have, at the end of it all, no criminal record.”

Brown has been suspended by the RCMP, with pay, since November 2012 and still must face an adjudication board.

Supt. Mark Fisher, officer in charge of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment, said a separate RCMP code of conduct investigation found Brown used improper force. A hearing date hasn’t been set but Brown could lose his job.

“In regards to an RCMP discipline hearing, it can be anywhere from a written reprimand to a loss of pay for up to 10 days, to dismissal or demotion and at this point in time, the commanding officer of the RCMP in B.C. has made a submission that he’s seeking [Brown’s] dismissal,” said Fisher.