No charges against Halifax police officer after SiRT investigates sexual assault complaint

The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) released its report today regarding an allegation of sexual assault against a male Halifax Regional Police (HRP) Officer. File/ Global News

Editor’s note: Halifax Regional Police have made a correction to their previous comment to Global News. They initially said there was no ongoing police act investigation, but on July 10, reached out to Global News to say there is indeed a police investigation that was temporarily suspended pending the outcome of the SiRT investigation. The story has been changed to reflect that. 

A Halifax Regional Police officer who admitted to inviting a woman — who he had met while responding to a traffic call — to his house and having sex with her, will not face any charges after an investigation by the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT).

The incident is alleged to have happened while the officer was on duty in May 2012.

The police watchdog says the sexual assault complaint was first referred to them in December 2017, after the woman’s husband contacted HRP.

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In a summary of the investigation released Friday, SiRT says they reviewed two audio-video recorded statements from the woman: the first taken on Dec. 21, 2017, by HRP and the second taken by SiRT on Feb. 15 of this year.

READ MORE: Halifax Regional Police officer under investigation for alleged sexual assault

The woman told investigators she had been in a near collision with a motorcycle in 2012. She admitted she had consumed alcohol before the incident and in her statement to SiRT, she said she was nervous and attempting to conceal an open bottle of alcohol in the vehicle.

She says there was a marked police vehicle nearby and recalled the “subject officer” telling her he could issue a ticket for what had happened.

According to the woman, it was the officer who suggested she follow him to his residence “if she did not want to get a ticket.” She says she willingly went there, had consensual sex and then drove to her home at the time in New Brunswick.

Her later statement to HRP states she had no contact with the officer until he appeared at the front door of her house in February 2015.

In late 2016, she says she contacted the officer to help her fix a motor vehicle infraction ticket. She alleges the officer came to her home and asked her to perform a sexual act, which she says she refused.

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There were also exchanges of sexual photos, although she was unclear of the dates.

In his statement to the SiRT investigator, the officer confirmed he was at the near collision scene in 2012 but says it was another officer who gathered all the documents for the report.

According to SiRT, “the [officer] said that the [woman] was flirting with him.”

The officer confirms he invited the woman to his residence and they had consensual sex but denies having a conversation about her infraction ticket. He also says he didn’t notice any signs of impairment during his contact with the woman.

READ: Nova Scotia police watchdog, SiRT, names former federal justice as new director

He also confirms he went to the woman’s house in 2016 but says the woman sent him a text message asking him if he wanted to “hook up.”

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He alleges the woman did bring up her issue with motor vehicle tickets but says he told her to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The officer also had sexually explicit photos of the woman, which he showed the SiRT investigator, that he took during the 2016 encounter. He says he asked her for permission to take the photos and she agreed.

SiRT’s report notes they asked the woman about those photos in March of this year, but she did not remember the officer taking them.

In their conclusion, SiRT says the woman indicated several times she consented to having sex and was not forced to do so.

SiRT also points out the officer was “not in a position to issue a ticket” to the woman because “he was not the lead investigator and only assisted the initial officer on the scene by directing traffic.”

The report says there are “numerous inconsistencies” between the woman’s and the officer’s versions of the 2012 events and puts emphasis on the fact the woman “withheld from both HRP and the SiRT investigator the existence of photos taken by the [officer] in December 2016.”
SiRT says the inconsistencies between the two accounts and “the omissions by the [woman] of relevant and important information, are significant.”
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“The reliability of the [woman’s] statements and recollection are questionable and do not allow the foundation of a basis constituting reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the [officer] committed a sexual assault,” the report states.

Halifax Regional Police investigating

A spokesperson from HRP tells Global News that a police act investigation began after they received a “third-party complaint about a sexual assault involving one of our members.”

Const. Carol McIsaac says their investigation was immediately suspended while SiRT undertook their own investigation.

Now that the SiRT investigation has concluded, the police act investigation has resumed and is now ongoing.

“We recognize that citizens expect police officers to be beyond reproach and we don’t take such matters lightly,” McIsaac said in an email.

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