The conviction of a Regina police officer has been reinstated by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal and he will face sentencing once again.
The decision made by a three-judge panel was released Tuesday. It reverses the previous decision of an acquittal in the case of Const. Robert Kenneth Power, who was originally found guilty of assault causing bodily harm.
The case stems from an incident in downtown Regina on May 7, 2012. According to documents from the Court of Appeal of Saskatchewan, Power noticed Edward Stonechild while on patrol and believed he was intoxicated. Power told Stonechild to go to the Brief Detox Centre or risk being arrested.
In his police cruiser, Power followed Stonechild to the BDU, and once there, Stonechild sat on a short cement wall nearby rather than entering the building. After an exchange of words, Power decided to exit his vehicle. Stonechild then took a few steps towards Power with his hands clenched by his side. Power took one step forward and push-kicked Stonechild in the stomach. Stonechild fell backwards and hit his head on the cement wall, resulting in a wound. He was then arrested by Power.
Power was released by the Regina Police Service in early 2014 after police Chief Troy Hagen decided he was “unsuitable for police service”. Power was given his job back in December 2014.
During his trial in early 2014, Const. Power testified that he had his head down putting on latex gloves and did not think Stonechild would come at him so quickly. Power indicated his first reaction was to kick Stonechild to defend himself because he believed Stonechild was going to hit him.
The judge concluded Power used more force than was necessary on Stonechild, who according to documents from the Court of Appeal of Saskatchewan was a chronic alcoholic, in extremely poor physical condition, blind in one eye, and homeless. As a result, the judge found Power guilty of assault causing bodily harm.
Power was originally sentenced to one year probation, ordered to report to a probation officer, and attend counselling. He also had to donate $1,000 to the detox centre.
In late 2014, an appeal court judge found some of the evidence was disregarded and overturned the decision to not guilty.
The appeal court judge’s decision stood until Tuesday when the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal allowed the Crown’s appeal to overturn the acquittal and reinstate the original conviction.
The original trial judge will be in charge of sentencing Const. Power.