An Ottawa police officer who pleaded not guilty to shoplifting and assault charges yesterday claimed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the theft, after being forced by Ottawa police brass to accept responsibility for a recruit's suicide six years earlier.
Testifying in court yesterday, Const. Alec Moraru, 38, alleged that then-Ottawa-Carleton Regional police deputy chief and now police Chief Vince Bevan "railroaded" him into accepting responsibility for the suicide of Const. Kim Desanyer in June 1998.
According to Const. Moraru, who at one time had been Const. Desanyer's coach officer, then-deputy chief Bevan gave him an ultimatum in December 1998 following an internal police investigation that he either admit to allegations he was having a romantic relationship with Const. Desanyer and didn't do enough to prevent her suicide, or be charged under the Police Services Act and fired.
Const. Moraru, who is married and vehemently denied having an affair with Const. Desanyer, said the deputy chief told him if he didn't admit guilt, the department would go public with the allegations, creating a "media circus" where the story would be "all over the papers."
In exchange for pleading guilty to the allegations and admitting the violations in front of his supervisor and officers on his platoon, the department would keep the matter quiet and wipe it from his record after two years, Const. Moraru testified.
None of Const. Moraru's allegations has been proven in court.
Chief Bevan, who is not scheduled to testify during the proceedings, declined to comment last night on Const. Moraru's allegations.
"I cannot comment on anything a witness might be saying," he said.
Const. Moraru is charged with theft under $5,000, assault while resisting arrest and uttering threats in connection with the theft of five Ritter chocolate bars, four blocks of Black Diamond cheese and three cans of Gillette shaving gel -- worth a total of $48.01 -- from a Greenbank Road Loblaws store on Dec. 9, 2004.
He has been suspended with pay since the incident.
Const. Moraru is accused of stealing the items by stashing them in a briefcase before fleeing from the store's security guards.
While attempting to escape, it's alleged Const. Moraru assaulted one of the security guards before putting a hand in his pocket and telling them he had a gun.
Ottawa police tactical officers arrested him at home. Yesterday, court heard testimony from security officers Josh Cavicchioli and Bradley McLean and watched video clips that appeared to show an off-duty Const. Moraru stuff items into a briefcase while standing behind a display of potato chips.
His lawyer, Michael Crystal, is attempting to prove Const. Moraru was in a dissociative state and suffering from mental disorder insane automatism, a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, at the time of the theft, which they do not dispute occurred.
According to Mr. Crystal, Const. Moraru's mental state prevented him from appreciating the nature or consequences of his actions, or of knowing what he was doing was wrong.