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Mountie faces four charges

Peter Varga
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Four criminal charges were laid against a long-serving Mountie on Tuesday.

Yellowknife RCMP Sgt. Larry O'Brien was charged with theft, forging documents, breach of trust, and uttering threats.

The major crimes section in Yellowknife laid the charges. The sergeant is scheduled to make his first appearance in territorial court on Aug. 24, Yellowknife detachment commander David Elliott announced at a press conference Tuesday.

O'Brien has been suspended with pay since Feb. 25 this year.

Some of the charges stem from a discovery on Jan. 8, 2009 that $2,000 cash had been taken from an RCMP exhibit locker sometime in the previous month.

"It was returned the same day it was noted to be missing," RCMP Sgt. Brad Kaeding told Yellowknifer. "It was found in proximity to where it had gone missing from, or where it was taken from."

The cash was part of a larger $239,000 sum that the Yellowknife drug section seized to assist Nunavut RCMP, Insp. Elliott said at the press conference. But police noticed $2,000 was missing.

After an initial investigation, the RCMP determined the theft was a "criminal action," Elliott said, and the matter was turned over to the Major Crimes Unit in Edmonton to ensure impartiality.

Once that investigation was completed in March, the Edmonton unit forwarded its results to the Crown in Toronto for review and determination of charges to be laid. The Yellowknife detachment received those results on June 21.

The detachment added the uttering threats charge based on an alleged incident on Friday when O'Brien was accused of having threatened five members of the RCMP in Yellowknife. The sergeant was arrested for the incident and released on conditions. The most recent charge does not change O'Brien's status as suspended with pay, Elliott said.

The detachment commander would not elaborate on incidents relating to the theft and forgery in the original incident last year, which "will be presented in court to support the charges."

Once the court process is complete, the RCMP will conduct its own code of conduct investigation, which will determine O'Brien's status with the police force.

O'Brien is a former media spokesperson for the Yellowknife detachment. The officer has 21 years of service with the RCMP, 13 of them in the Northwest Territories. He has also served with the Hay River detachment and various units in Yellowknife.

"It's very tough to have me standing here and say an RCMP member has been charged," Elliott said at yesterday's press conference. "But the community expects us to have a high standard. If we violate that trust, we should be answerable to them."

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