A Saskatoon police officer convicted in 2015 of obstructing justice will get a new trial.
Const. Steve Nelson was given a 90-day conditional sentence and 50 hours of community service stemming from an incident in 2012.
Nelson was the responding officer to a domestic assault call. At that time, he took a statement from a woman who said she’d been beaten by her boyfriend.
The woman came in to the police station the next day and gave a statement changing her story.
A taped phone call between Nelson and another officer, Const. Tyler Melnychuk, indicated she told police her boyfriend was innocent and that injuries to her face were the result of falling down several times.
That second statement never made it into the record. In the taped phone call, Nelson was heard telling Melnychuk the statement should be ripped up.
During Nelson’s first trial, Melnychuk told court he gave the second statement to Nelson before it was never seen again. Nelson testified that he didn’t recall ever receiving it.
In a written decision, appeal Court Justice Gary Lane said Judge Hugh Harradence didn’t do enough to establish Nelson’s intent in convicting him following his first trial.
“It is not sufficient that the accused did something or failed to do something which may have some effect on the course of justice. The accused must have wilfully committed an action or inaction which had a tendency to obstruct or pervert the course of justice and must have intended to obstruct or pervert the course of justice in behaving in this way,” Lane wrote.
Following the initial conviction, police chief Clive Weighill said he was starting proceedings to have Nelson removed.
That is now on hold pending the outcome of the new trial. Nelson remains suspended from the Saskatoon Police Service while his case is before the courts.