B.C. RCMP constable being sued for alleged assault, false imprisonment

Lawsuit stems from traffic stop incident in November of 2017

A Comox resident is suing a member of the Comox Valley RCMP for an alleged assault, battery, false arrest and false imprisonment stemming from an incident in November 2017.

On April 6, 2018, a notice of civil claim was brought forth to the supreme court in Victoria by Richard Neary, lawyer for Oliver Cosette, against the B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Attorney General and Const. Geory Penner of the Comox Valley RCMP.

In the notice, it states the plaintiff was pulled over for a traffic stop in Comox on Nov. 7 around 1 p.m. when Penner searched Cosette’s name and discovered a Notice of Prohibition on record against him, indicating a three-month licence prohibition that had not yet been served.

Cosette claims he was unaware of any Notice of Prohibition at the time.

Penner wrote up a notice and served it to Cosette. As he approached Cosette’s vehicle with the document, Cosette activated video and audio recording on his mobile device and placed the device inside his pocket such that only audio was being recorded.

It is alleged in the notice that Penner then asked if Cosette had any drugs or alcohol in the vehicle, to which he answered ‘no.’ He then told Cosette he was on “a bunch of conditions” related to criminal charges and family violence. He disagreed with the constable, and the two argued for a moment on that topic.

It is stated in the notice the plaintiff was not facing any such charges or subject to any conditions.

Penner again asked if Cosette had any drugs or alcohol, to which he answered no. Penner then said “let’s open it up,” and opened the driver side door, to which Cosette responded, “without a warrant sir? You’re not getting in there.”

Penner then noted he was going to take Cosette’s vehicle and attempted to grab the notice document from his hand, and Cosette did not immediately release the document.

The constable then pulled Cosette to the ground and told him he was under arrest for obstruction. While he was on the ground with his hands behind his back, he told Penner “I have a really bad shoulder,” to which Penner replied, “It’s gonna get worse if you keep f***ing around.”

Cosette stated the constable was choking him. Penner then continued to talk to him while pulling his sweater tight around his neck, and said, “you’re choking me out sir.”

The notice alleges Penner responded, “go out, pretty princess. It’s that time.”

Cosette was then pulled to his feet and placed in the back seat of an RCMP cruiser. The audio recording of the incident ends at this point.

Later that day, the plaintiff visited the hospital due to the injuries sustained during the altercation.

In the notice, it states Cosette suffered and continues to suffer personal injuries to his shoulders, facial injuries and anxiety and emotional distress.

He is seeking general damages, special damages, damages pursuant to section 24(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, interest, costs of the action and any further relief as the court may see fit.

Calls by The Record to Cosette for comment were not returned.

Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, media relations officer for RCMP ‘E’ Division said the RCMP have yet to be served.

“Once we have been formally served, we will review the information with the Department of Justice and our official response will be filed in court as a statement of defence.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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