A judge has dismissed an application by a Nanaimo RCMP officer to be acquitted of a charge that he assaulted a woman while booking her into police cells.
The application by Const. Tim Mason came after the Crown had closed its case in March in Nanaimo provincial court.
Court heard that Mason was charged with assault causing bodily harm following an incident involving a young woman on Dec. 2, 2018.
The woman had been out celebrating her 19th birthday when police were called by her friends, who were worried for her safety.
Mason, who was on duty at the time, could find no safe place for her to be placed due to the level of her intoxication, so she was brought to the Nanaimo RCMP detachment where she was being booked for being intoxicated in a public place.
A decision was made to lodge the woman in a cell to sober up, and Mason and a female officer guided her down a narrow hallway in the detachment. She tried to resist the two officers and attempted to swing out with her foot toward Mason, according to a ruling by Judge Brian Harvey.
As a result, the woman was taken down to the ground where she ended up on her back. It appeared that she struck out toward Mason, striking him somewhere in the upper body or face after several swings or punches, noted the judge.
The woman testified she was punched in the eye by Mason in response to the takedown. She suffered a serious laceration to her left eye requiring five stitches, a fracture to her left orbital bone, and a serious contusion to her left eye. She was taken to hospital for treatment.
Mason’s lawyers brought an application for a directed verdict for a finding of not guilty. They argued that the evidence at trial showed that Mason was kicked and punched by the woman and in response, he delivered a single strike which they characterized as being reactionary in nature.
But the judge, noting his role in such applications was to do a limited weighing of the evidence, said he was unable to grant the application.
“To that end, I have no difficulty in stating at this stage that the evidence tendered in this case by the Crown, if believed and left unanswered, establishes that Const. Mason struck [the woman] in the area of the left eye and that [she] did not consent to the application of force.”
The judge is expected to hand down his verdict May 9.