But the officer’s attorney said the mental health issues his client was experiencing at the time and the great strides he has made since the offense necessitate a conditional discharge, which would spare him a criminal record.
Jail is needed for a Calgary police officer who knocked a handcuffed man out of a wheelchair before stepping on his foot and kicking him, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
But the lawyer for Const. currently suspended. Eric Plummer said the mental health issues his client was experiencing at the time and the great strides he has made since the crime warrant a conditional discharge, which would spare him a criminal record.
Defense attorney Cory Wilson said Plummer has made great strides since he was accused two years ago of dealing with mental health issues related to the breakup of his marriage, which led him to callously treat Vincent James Lavoie.
“He really is a different man,” Wilson told Provincial Court Judge John Bascom.
The attorney said Plummer’s rehabilitative steps, including anger management counseling and other issues, make him “a role model for other members of the Calgary Police Service” dealing with such concerns.
“He didn’t see Mr. Lavoie as someone who just wanted help,” Wilson said, arguing for a conditional release involving community service that would result in Plummer having no criminal record.
The counseling has made Plummer a healthier person “and, more importantly, empathetic,” the attorney said.
Due to issues with depression and other mental health issues related to the breakup of the marriage, Plummer “lost that empathic lens. She stopped seeing people as people because of her mental health issues.”
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But Crown Prosecutor Ryan Pollard said Plummer’s conduct warranted a 30-day prison sentence followed by a year’s probation.
During his probationary period, Plummer could be ordered to continue counseling and serve community service hours, Pollard said.
He said Plummer’s assault on Lavoie was a breach of trust in his position as a police officer and caused damage to the community’s trust in the service.
Before the presentations, Pollard detailed the facts of the case for Bascom.
He said that Lavoie had been taken to South Health Campus Hospital on November 10, 2019, in a state of extreme intoxication.
But when he was released from the emergency room, Lavoie, who had no fixed address or family support in Calgary, refused to leave the hospital.
When security personnel tried to get him to leave, he became aggressive and the police were called to charge him with trespassing.
When Plummer and his partner arrived, Lavoie had been handcuffed behind his back and placed in a wheelchair.
At one point, Plummer pushed Lavoie off the floor from his wheelchair. He then stepped on his bare right foot, causing the victim to flinch and scream in pain, before kicking him in the face.
Plummer told Bascom that he was ashamed of his conduct.
“It has been a very difficult, humbling and eye-opening experience for me,” he said.
“I was disgusted with myself. I have been plagued with remorse and shame.”
A date will be set for Bascom’s sentencing decision on Thursday.
On twitter: @KMartinCourts