Snowplow operator not guilty of hitting officer on TV set

Rosie Mullaley
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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.



Geographic location: Republic of Doyle.Barrett, Harding Road, Logy Bay Road

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Recent comments

  • George
    October 31, 2013 - 18:36

    I know Scott Barrett, worked with him for some time as an equipment operator. Scott is a very professional equipment operator and is a very trustworthy friend. I can tell you that as a heavy equipment operator we put our equipment in some really tight places with employees inches away without causing injury or even a near miss. I can vouch for Scott if he hit the officer he would have said he did.

  • NL Taxpayer
    October 29, 2013 - 21:08

    The judge essentially concluded that the officer perjured herself. Is there no penalty for officer's lying under oath?

  • Mr. Squeaker
    October 29, 2013 - 19:30

    Why is the RNC featured in the show, and used for security on shooting? Is this not the stupidist ever. They have a fake beer made up for the show sets, but need real cops, and fake cops, wearing the same uniforms?

  • Bob
    October 29, 2013 - 09:37

    Score one for the good guys for a change.Outta the way lady and let the man do his job. Doyle Schmoyle.Overrated show anyway.All the viewers are 35-65 year old women who only watch to see if Jake will take his shirt off and show "those abs".

  • david
    October 29, 2013 - 09:28

    This story is just like the TV show. Unbelievable, poorly acted, and all paid for by taxpayers.

  • Marshall Art
    October 29, 2013 - 08:51

    The judge agreed that the RNC Officer was not telling the truth when she claimed she was hit by the snowplow's tire. So much for taking an Oath to serve and protect. This is very troubling.

  • Virginia Waters
    October 29, 2013 - 08:20

    Wow! What's extraordinary about this case is that the crown would proceed with it at all. Newfoundland courts are trying to cope with an enormous workload - much of it drug and domestic violence related. Only a short while ago, prosecutors and community groups were condemning government cutbacks in the justice system. By pursuing a seriously flawed, trivial charge of this nature, the crown undermines its own credibility. For its part, RNC management showed poor judgement in preferring the charge in the first place. The complainant herself comes across as a petty tyrant whose veracity has been called into question by the court itself. Bad day all around for the RNC and the crown. Kudos to Judge Goulding for getting it right. That noise we hear is the sound of money being sucked out of the pockets of taxpayers to indulge an overly sensitive, self-important petty official.

  • S
    October 29, 2013 - 08:02

    I can't believe this man had to waste his time and money defending himself against this, "assaulting a peace officer, assault with a weapon"?!?!?! Another prime example of the justice system wasting tax dollars. I think Ms. RNC needs to calm down and check herself. He had stopped the plow at her initial request. As soon as he started moving she should have realized and gotten out of the way. Also, if she was standing where she said, how was she directing traffic? Seems to me it would be hard to see an officer directing traffic while stood almost on top of the wheel of a snow plow. Just because you have the badge on doesn't mean you have the authority to do whatever you want. You are supposed to be protecting the safety of the public, not having a power trip on a guy driving a provincial snow plow.

  • hmmm
    October 29, 2013 - 07:42

    The cop says she was struck by the tire but the judge says that wasn't possible. So what does that say about the cop's testimony?

  • Aub
    October 29, 2013 - 07:26

    If that were an ambulance on the way to an emergency, would it have to wait for a stupid TV show?

  • Brenda
    October 29, 2013 - 06:21

    And why wouldn't he think this person was part of the set instead of a real police officer? Oh, I don't know, maybe because she appeared to be more concerned over the "convenience" of a film crew than she was over the road condition and safety of the public using it?? I am a huge Republic of Doyle fan, but I would think that a necessity like road maintenance should take priority.