One couldn’t blame Scott Barrett if he felt more like Jake Doyle Monday afternoon.
The 50-year-old had every reason to feel like saying, “Oh Yeah” as he left provincial court in St. John’s.
That’s after the snowplow operator was acquitted of all charges that alleged he refused to stop his snowplow and, as a result, hit a police officer who was directing traffic at a filming of the TV show "Republic of Doyle".
Barrett was found not guilty of charges of assaulting a peace officer, assault with a weapon and failing to obey the direction of a traffic officer.
Barrett was charged as a result of an incident that happened around 8 a.m. on Nov. 30, 2012. A female police officer was working on traffic control on Harding Road in the east end of St. John’s, where the TV show was taping an upcoming episode.
As Barrett was making his way from Logy Bay Road en route to the city depot to get more salt and sand, a female RNC officer, dressed in uniform and a bright vest, motioned and stopped Barrett, who was driving a province-owned snowplow.
Barrett was upset by the delay, since ice conditions required him to be on duty. There were vehicles off the road, including a school bus.
He had testified during his trial that five snowplows were supposed to be working, but he was the only one. He said some snowplows had broken down and could not get repaired because the crew was filming. It would cause too much noise.
He told the officer he had no time to stop. The officer told him to wait a minute until the film crew indicated it was OK.
Barrett refused and said he was going through and sounded his horn. The officer claims when he moved, he struck her with the tire. She wasn’t injured.
Barrett had testified he didn’t think she was a real police officer at that time and figured it was all part of the show’s taping.
He said a director who had come out told him it was OK to move along.
Before moving forward, Barrett said he looked to make sure no one was near. He said the officer was five or six feet away.
Barrett said when he did, the officer said, “You just hit me you know I’m a real RNC officer.”
Barrett — who was represented by his lawyer Sheila Greene — pointed out it would be impossible to hit the officer with the tire, since the plow is wider.
The judge agreed.
“There is conflicting evidence as to where the officer was standing when the accused put his snow plow in motion after he initially stopped,” Judge Pamela Goulding said in rendering her decision.
“The width of the plow and the width of the tires make it impossible for the officer to have been hit by the tire (if she had been where witness saw her) … Unexplained inconsistencies in the evidence on important matters can give rise to a reasonable doubt.”
Goulding said there’s no doubt he failed to obey the officer, but said it was a special circumstance.
“The harm sought to be avoided was the danger the icy roads posed to motorists, their passengers including children and pedestrians,” she said.