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Police lectured for wasting the court's time

“Trifling” assault wasted court’s time and money

Campbell River Crown counsel and the RCMP have received a lecture from Provincial Court Judge Brian Saunderson about wasting the court’s time and taxpayers’ money.

The lecture came as Judge Saunderson dismissed assault charges against Ryan Thornton who got drunk one night in June, fell asleep and woke up angry when he realized his wife had video taped him in bed.

“It can be said with certainty,” Judge Saunderson wrote in his judgment. “That it was not in the public interest to prosecute this man for this event. The police had the discretion not to forward a report to Crown counsel, but chose to do otherwise. Then Crown counsel had the discretion not to approve a charge, but chose to do otherwise.”

Both the Crown and the police “took the easy way out by leaving the matter to the court,” the judge stated.

Thornton had apparently wrongly accused his wife of cheating before going to bed. She decided “to film him so that she could show him how he was acting,” the judge wrote. She pulled the bed covers away to expose Thornton’s face at which point he woke up and a 10 second “tug of war” followed. Thornton smashed the camera and his wife called 911.

Judge Saunderson said the woman’s version of events did not make sense and “the incident was minor – indeed it was trifling.” He concluded: “The public was not served by this proceeding. It was a waste of the court’s time and the taxpayers’ money.”

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