Watch above: A Saskatoon police officer, found guilty of obstructing justice, has been handed a conditional sentence. Meaghan Craig has reaction from the police chief who will seek Steve Nelson’s dismissal.
SASKATOON – An officer with the Saskatoon Police Service, found guilty of wilfully obstructing justice, has been handed down a 90-day conditional sentence. On Friday, Judge Hugh Harradence said what Const. Steven Nelson is convicted of “strikes at the very heart of the administration of justice.”
Obstruction of justice trial starts for Saskatoon police constable
Nelson, who was found guilty of obstructing justice in June, must comply with six conditions during his 90-day conditional sentence. He will have a curfew, must complete 50 hours community service in the first 60 days and will have to report to a probation officer.
READ MORE: Saskatoon police constable guilty of obstructing justice
Following Nelson’s sentencing Saskatoon Chief of Police Clive Weighill issued a statement.
“I recognize the seriousness of a member of the Saskatoon Police Service being convicted of an indictable offence, specifically when the offence is willfully obstructing justice.”
Weighill went on to say he would be putting forward to the Saskatchewan Police Commission that Nelson’s suspension continue without pay and that he will be seeking his dismissal.
“I want to assure the public that the members of our Service are committed to serving the citizens of Saskatoon honestly and fairly.”
In October 2014, the nine-year member of the force was charged with the offense after a victim’s statement in an alleged domestic dispute disappeared without a trace.
The 34-year-old was suspended with pay despite no blemishes on his record prior to the charge.
Three-thirty letters of support were submitted for the judge’s consideration during sentencing. Letters from family, friends and fellow officers – all saying what happened was out of character for Nelson.
On Friday, the judge noted this was a tragedy for Nelson and his family but went on to say that Nelson’s actions were not a momentary lapse in judgement but rather continued for some time.
In June, when a verdict was delivered in the case and in a written decision by Harradence, he found Nelson’s evidence to be unreliable and that he took deliberate steps to conceal the existence of evidence.
“I am of the view that he remembers more of the circumstances then he testified to and his testimony is dishonest and untruthful.”
This after Nelson took the stand in his own defence testifying one of three things could have happened to the statement. It was either misplaced, attached to the wrong file or he threw it away out of frustration. Several times in court he said couldn’t remember details regarding the evidence including a conversation with a fellow officer.
An audio recording played in court of Nelson telling another constable to “rip up” the statement. The half-page statement was provided by a woman recanting her story to Nelson from the day before regarding an alleged domestic dispute.
Const. Melynchuk: “She’s saying now that she wasn’t assaulted at all and she fell numerous times.”
Nelson: “Yeah, that can be ripped up, I already talked to her on the phone tonight. I told her I was not dropping the charges.”