Jennifer Saltman (The Province) – A junior Surrey RCMP officer was acquitted in B.C. Provincial Court Friday of one count of assault.
Kane was accused of assault in connection with an incident that occurred Jan. 14, 2008.
That night, Kane arrived in the Fraser Heights area after another officer had pulled over a vehicle whose registered owner had outstanding warrants.
Neither of the two people in the car was the owner, but the officer decided there were grounds to arrest the men for possession of marijuana because of a strong smell of pot coming from the car.
After Kane arrived he went to the car to talk to, and possibly arrest, the passenger, but somehow the two ended up struggling in the back seat. The complainant said he was punched in the face twice and found it hard to breathe at one point during the struggle.
Both Kane and the complainant testified at trial but Judge Kenneth Skilnick said that the two gave evidence that was “diametrically opposed.”
“I’ve fully considered the evidence but I’m unable to decide which version to accept,” Skilnick said, adding that only two people know how the incident unfolded.
Skilnick said he was also unable to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that excessive force was used because the witnesses’ versions of what happened varied so greatly.
In January, Kane was found not guilty of assault causing bodily harm in connection with a bar fight.
He and other officers went to a Surrey pub after work on April 10, 2008. Shortly before closing time, someone called Kane a name and he became angry.
When Const. Matthew Estrada intervened, Kane grabbed him and the two men fell to the floor. Estrada was choked unconscious and ended up with a broken nose and badly sprained ankle.
Judge Ronald Caryer said Kane’s actions were instinctive, reflexive and not an excessive use of force because Kane did not realize who he was fighting.
Kane has been on sick leave since April 2008. He had seven months of service at the time of the incident.
An internal RCMP investigation is ongoing.