A Delta police officer could be facing disciplinary action after a member of the public complained that the officer had written tickets for violations that didn’t occur.
According to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, Const. Byron Ritchie has been granted a review of his case that includes 11 allegations of deceit, a form of misconduct defined under the Police Act as “making or procuring the making of (A) any oral or written statement, or (B) any entry in an official document or record that, to the member’s knowledge, is false or misleading.”
The complaint against Ritchie came from a member of the public whose wife had been issued two tickets by Ritchie on July 15, 2016. The complaint noted that Ritchie had stopped the female driver because she was talking on her cell phone while driving.
After he stopped her, Ritchie allegedly issued her a ticket for failing to wear a seat belt and failing to produce vehicle insurance, even though she had done both those things. He allegedly told the driver she was “getting a break” with those tickets, as the combined fines were less than receiving a ticket for distracted driving.
After the complaint was brought to the Greater Vancouver Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU), Ritchie was confronted about the situation. He said he was trying to give the driver a break, and had written tickets this way before.
The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner ordered an investigation into this matter on the basis that issuing tickets for violations that didn’t occur counted as deceit.
During the disciplinary proceeding, investigators found 11 instances between June and July of 2016 where Ritchie issued tickets for unfounded violations.
Ritchie denied the allegations were deceitful.
The discipline authority recommended that Ritchie’s rank be reduce for 12 months, from first class constable to second class constable. It also recommended he receive suspension without pay for two days for each of the 11 offences (totalling 22 days of suspension without pay) and work under close supervision for one year.
Ritchie sought a public hearing on the case, but was not granted one. Instead his case will be subject to a “review on the record,” with retired provincial court judge James Therlfall acting as adjudicator. Therlfall will review all the documents related to the investigation and determine whether disciplinary action should be taken.