Cameron D. Lockhart was sentenced this morning (Friday) at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's.
Lockhart had been facing several charges involving two former girlfriends between 2009 and 2011 when Lockhart was stationed at the Trinity Conception RCMP detachment. But following a trial last month, a jury found him guilty of one count of assault.
He was found not guilty of three counts of assault, two counts of mischief by damaging property and single counts of assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.
The charge he was found guilty of related to an incident that happened in 2009 at the house he shared with his girlfriend at the time. While Lockhart was on duty and went home on a break, he and his girlfriend argued over her decision to attend a stagette party. Lockhart pushed her over the couch, smacked her in the face, causing her earring to cut her.
During the sentencing hearing last month, Crown prosecutor Jason House had suggested Lockhart get a 14-day jail term.
Defence lawyer Nick Avis asked for a conditional sentence.
Justice Deborah Paquette agreed with Avis.
"Domestic violence is a scourge on our society and must be seriously dealt with," she said.
She said justice can be served with a conditional sentence.
He pointed out that Lockhart has no previous criminal record and has been abiding by court orders since being charged in 2014.
She said the woman didn't suffer any serious injuries in the assault, there was no victim impact statement and eight years have passed.
She also noted that Lockhart has been on administrative duties since being charged, hasn't socialized and has been treated for depression and anxiety.
"The shame and stigma which has followed Mr. Lockhart .. are evident," Paquette said, pointing to the media coverage, the effects the attention has had on his job and the loss of self esteem.
She also pointed out that the Crown clarified it never meant to proceed with the case as an indictable offence, meaning a case that would have a more serious punishment. It had intended to be tried as a summary offence in provincial court. However, because Lockhart was charged more than 18 months after the offence — he was charged five years after the assault — the law states the Crown has to proceed with it as an indictable offence.
The judge also pointed out that had the Crown proceeded summarily, the mandatory firearm prohibition order would not have been applied. As a result, Paquette agreed to exempt Lockhart from the order because of his employment as a police officer.
She also agreed that Lockhart did not have to provide a DNA sample.
Conditions of Lockhart's conditional sentence include that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour, have no contact with the woman and adhere to a curfew.
His probation conditions also include that he keep the peace, have no contact with the woman and notify his probation officer of any change of address.
Lockhart and his lawyer have appealed the verdict. There's no date set yet for when the appeal will be argued.