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Constable Zahara Lucks Out With A Female Judge

TCBF

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Judge: Mountie's meltdown just a blip
Monday, February 12, 2007 at 16:23
PUBLICATION:  The Chronicle-Herald
DATE:  2007.02.08
SECTION:  Front
PAGE:  A1
BYLINE:  Beverley Ware; Patricia Brooks Arenburgstaff Reporters
ILLUSTRATION: Const. Adree Zahara was placed on probation for a
yearWednesday after she pleaded guilty to a charge of careless use of a
firearm. (Beverley Ware / South Shore Bureau) 
WORD COUNT:  741

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Judge: Mountie's meltdown just a blip; Cop who fired 9 bullets during
domestic dispute gets probation
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BRIDGEWATER - A Mountie who had "a bit of a meltdown" and fired nine
bullets from her service pistol into the wall of her home has been put
on probation for a year and will have no criminal record so she can
continue what the judge called "an exemplary career."

Const. Adree Zahara won't have to perform community service as
prosecutor Chris Nicholson requested because Judge Anne Crawford said
Const. Zahara, as a police officer and single mother, already gives back
to the community every day.

The judge also imposed a two-year ban on possessing weapons rather than
the 10-year ban Mr. Nicholson asked for, saying the lesser term would
still be a deterrent but would allow Const. Zahara to continue her
career.

The two-year ban applies only when Const. Zahara isn't working. She is
allowed to carry a gun at work.

"The public interest is best served here by allowing a good officer to
continue her career," Judge Crawford said as she agreed to the joint
recommendation from the Crown and defence for a conditional discharge
and a year on probation.

But RCMP spokesman Sgt. Frank Skidmore said Const. Zahara will not be
given her semi-automatic handgun back, at least until an internal
investigation is finished. He said her future with the RCMP is far from
certain.

Mr. Nicholson said Const. Zahara is now doing administrative work for
the RCMP's violent crime linkage analysis system, or VICLAS, in Bedford.


The prosecutor said outside court he wanted a longer firearms ban and
community service.

"I thought it would be important for Const. Zahara to have the
opportunity to give something back to the community for what she did,
for her serious lapse in judgment here," he said.

But the judge did agree with the joint recommendation for a conditional
discharge, saying "anything other than a conditional sentence would be
grossly out of proportion to the offence." She said Const. Zahara was
under considerable stress at the time and did not put anyone at risk.

Both Mr. Nicholson and defence lawyer David Bright denied that Const.
Zahara was given special treatment.

Mr. Bright said he has worked on cases involving military members who
received a work exemption to a weapons ban.

He said Const. Zahara has an "extraordinarily good record" at work. Both
he and Mr. Nicholson said her sentence reflects her work as an RCMP
officer and as a volunteer in the community, her remorse and the
positive statements that senior officers made in her presentence report.

Last week, two senior RCMP officers spoke to The Chronicle Herald on
condition of anonymity. They said they thought Const. Zahara was getting
preferential treatment, both in the criminal case and the internal
investigation, and that it was damaging to the rank-and-file members and
the public's perception of the RCMP.

"Their credibility is totally destroyed," one veteran officer said of
RCMP management and the force's handling of the investigation. "She
should have no credibility as a police officer. Period."

Const. Zahara's work with the VICLAS unit, at full pay, is a job that
"80 per cent of front-line officers would give their you-know-what to
have," one officer said.

The officers were appalled that Const. Zahara fired her pistol into a
wall nine times in a domestic dispute, not only because of the safety
training they receive but also in light of the types of violent offences
many officers have witnessed.

The two senior Mounties who spoke with The Herald said other officers
have been forced out of the RCMP over court convictions, even if the
sentence was a conditional discharge. Others are being subjected to
polygraph tests to determine who is downloading music from the Internet,
one said.

"And they let something like this go by? It's a farce, that's the bottom
line," the officer said.

Bridgewater Police Chief Brent Crowhurst used to be Const. Zahara's
supervisor when he was a Mountie. He told the court that the policing
community admired and respected her and that he has no concerns about
anything like this ever happening again.

Mr. Nicholson said the shooting incident came to light when Const. Chuck
Simm reported it to his detachment on Oct. 16. Const. Simm had been
living common law with Const. Zahara and their three-year-old son until
a few months before.

He said that on Oct. 15, Const. Zahara invited him to her home in
Chester Grant to talk about their son and they got into an argument. He
was working and in uniform. Const. Zahara was also in uniform, getting
ready for her 4 p.m. shift.

Mr. Nicholson said Const. Zahara got "very upset," went into her room
and started smashing things. Const. Simm reported that he heard a
gunshot, followed by several other shots. He kicked in the door and took
her gun until she calmed down, then gave it back to her and she went to
work.

When she didn't report the incident, he did







http://forums.blueline.ca/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10859

"
Was Justice served here????
by AnotherBeginning on Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:06 pm

Personally, I say no..... just my opinion though....

Cop won’t face maximum term

By PATRICIA BROOKS ARENBURG Staff Reporter

A South Shore Mountie who fired her semi-automatic pistol several times into a wall at her home last fall during a dispute with her former partner won’t get the maximum two-year jail sentence and could end up getting both her gun and her job back.

That’s because the Crown has decided to proceed summarily in the case of Const. Adree Mohammed Zahara, who pleaded guilty in December to careless use of a firearm.

That means the most she faces is up to six months in custody, a $2,000 fine or a combination of both, followed by probation, when she is sentenced today in Bridgewater provincial court.

"She has no record, of course," Crown attorney Chris Nicholson said of the decision.

"First offence, not uncommon."

The Crown also looks at the seriousness of the offence, and Mr. Nicholson said Const. Zahara didn’t point her 9-mm handgun at anyone. But he reiterated the importance of assessing her.

He wouldn’t discuss his recommendations before today’s sentencing hearing.

The shots were fired last Oct. 17 during a dispute between the two Mounties, who are no longer together. After Const. Zahara was released from custody, she was ordered to have no contact with Const. Chuck Simm, who was reportedly with her when the shots were fired, or Const. Graham Cooke. Both orders were later changed — the one involving Const. Simm was altered to allow Const. Zahara access to the couple’s young son.

Const. Zahara’s case has raised the hackles of some senior officers who say she landed a "plum job" after committing a serious crime.

"Should she be a police officer? . . . Simply put, no. She stepped over the line," said one police source who did not want to be identified.

Const. Zahara, who is not allowed to carry her gun, has been working on administrative duties in metro Halifax since Nov. 3, RCMP spokesman Sgt. Frank Skidmore said. He couldn’t elaborate, but sources said she is working at the force’s Bedford office doing administrative work for the VICLAS (violent crime linkage analysis system) unit. She is not working as a VICLAS specialist, which would require expert training.

The decision not to suspend the officer from her $72,000-a-year job was made by the country’s top cop, who makes the final decision on all internal disciplinary matters.

Although a firearms ban is not mandatory in this case, it is common with all weapons offences, said Kelly Serbu, a Dartmouth defence lawyer who is not representing Const. Zahara. "It’s my experience that any time that there is a weapon involved . . . that the Crown asked for some type of weapons prohibition," Mr. Serbu said.

A ban is a "clear way" to prevent violence with weapons, he said. The judge could also impose a weapons restriction for a lesser period as part of a probation order, he said.

But Mr. Serbu said a defence lawyer could still argue that a person needs to have a weapon for employment purposes or that a ban would not be in the public interest.

A judge has already changed the conditions of Const. Zahara’s release, including the provision that she remain in Nova Scotia. Her lawyer, David Bright, said that could have restricted her employment.

The RCMP’s internal investigation into Const. Zahara’s actions is still underway and no decision on the future of her employment will be made immediately after her sentencing, Sgt. Skidmore said.

"She’s entered a plea of guilty, but without the sentencing, it’s not complete," he said.

Once the sentence, which could still include an absolute or conditional discharge, is passed, the internal investigation will wrap up, Sgt. Skidmore said. No provision of the RCMP Act states that an officer must be fired for a conviction under the Criminal Code, he said.

"If you’re a regular police officer and get picked up for impaired driving, (you) quite often do not lose your job," Sgt. Skidmore said.

But even a conditional or absolute discharge doesn’t mean life continues as usual for police officers. Former constable Gordon Rendell of Stellarton RCMP was suspended and later fired in 2000 after he received a conditional discharge for biting his ex-girlfriend on the nose in 1997.

 

armyvern

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Holy crap. I say again ...

PMS or what!!??

Again -- the punishment seems just a wee tad bit ... NOT even a smidgen close to being ENOUGH.

What a load of crap.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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I'm still wondering how  being a 'single mother' means you give something back to the community....
 

TCBF

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
I'm still wondering how  being a 'single mother' means you give something back to the community....

- Gave her HUSBAND back to the community?

:D
 

Greymatters

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TCBF said:
Once the sentence, which could still include an absolute or conditional discharge, is passed, the internal investigation will wrap up, Sgt. Skidmore said. No provision of the RCMP Act states that an officer must be fired for a conviction under the Criminal Code, he said. 

If the RCMP doesnt hire new members because they have criminal records, why would you retain RCMP members convicted of criminal code violations?  Sounds just a teeny bit like protectionism...

 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Greymatters said:
If the RCMP doesnt hire new members because they have criminal records, why would you retain RCMP members convicted of criminal code violations?  Sounds just a teeny bit like protectionism...

Not really,.....I'm sure there are military serving members with convictions that would have never been hired had they been there previously.
 

chris_log

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Considering the importance placed on firearm safety, etc among the police this seems like EXACTLY the kind of incident that one should be booted from the police force for. If a kid looking to be a police officer can be rejected because he smoked a couple joints in high school, then a serving officer who fires his/her pistol into a wall during a domestic dispute should be tossed without a second thought.

I am a firm believer that police officers should be held as accountable as your average citizen, if not more, for laws they break. 
 

medaid

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So by your reasoning, anyone who's ever had an ND in the CF should be booted too?

Anyways... I think that this is messed up. She needs to be psych eval'd again to determine whether or not she is mentally fit to serve as a Member of the RCMP.

There are tons of stupid crap that happens in both the CF and the LE community. The only reason why we know about this is because somebody brought it forward for what? There are cases that we NEVER hear about and are sometimes worse then this.

 

1feral1

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Imagine what the law would do to the ordinary decent citizen with a registered handgun, who after a bad day, or 'meltdown' fired 9 shots into his wall of his/her home.

1. SWAT Team called; and

2. Every charge possible being laid, heaps of anti-gun publicity, and no doubt a firearms prohibition for 10 yrs or more, maybe life?

Sorry, I am pro LEO etc, but I think there is a double standard here.

LEO's etc should not be exempt from the laws put forward to protect us all, even from within the circle.

When she cracks the next time, she might want to take others with her. She would'nt be the first cop to wig out and go postal.

Regardless of who we are, or who we think we are, we all should be accountable for our actions, whether they be criminal or not.

Derek, UDs/NDs are far different from deliberate wigouts  ;D


Cheers,

Wes
 

chris_log

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MedTech said:
So by your reasoning, anyone who's ever had an ND in the CF should be booted too?

Are you equating an ND with someone (a police officer, trained in the use of their weapon) firing their service pistol 9 times into the wall during a domestic dispute? Do you want this lady responding to, say, a domestic call you or someone you know makes, knowing what you do now?
 

Infanteer

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Piper said:
Are you equating an ND with someone (a police officer, trained in the use of their weapon) firing their service pistol 9 times into the wall during a domestic dispute? Do you want this lady responding to, say, a domestic call you or someone you know makes, knowing what you do now?

+1.  Bullshit comparison, Medtech.
 

medaid

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Piper said:
Are you equating an ND with someone (a police officer, trained in the use of their weapon) firing their service pistol 9 times into the wall during a domestic dispute? Do you want this lady responding to, say, a domestic call you or someone you know makes, knowing what you do now?

Smashing things does not equal a domestic dispute. She was upset and went to her room to cool off or what ever. Was Simms in any danger from her being in her own room? NO. Was he physically assaulted? NO. Was this on the job? NO. Does she have a history of abuse of power? Wrongful arrests? Excessive use of force? NO. So what does this have to do with her job? What does this have to do with her ability to assess a situation, deal with it, and resolve it? NO.

Wes: Don't get me wrong, but I agree with you and others in that she's messsssed. But kicking her out for something that, had it happened without a witness would have just disappeared?

I hope NONE of your are saying that you've ever gone to the range a little pissed and wanting to blow off some steam while working on your marksmanship principles? If you say you've never done that I call your B.S.

Like I said, look at it this way, if her case was never reported. If there were no witnesses, what would have happened? Nothing. Not a single thing. you'd never know it, and she would continue to show up to work doing what she does.

Should she be disciplined? OH YEAH!
Should she be disarmed? MAYBE
Should she be FIRED? I don't know about that... Like I said plenty of STUPIDER crap has happened before and those members are still serving. Some brilliantly... some well not that bad either.

Anyways... there are extremes and there are extremes...


Infanteer said:
+1.  Bullshit comparison, Medtech.

You're right it was a bit far stretched. However, have you ever thought that the fact the CF does not allow members to keep their firearms OFF duty makes a big difference? I'd bet you if some members of the CF had readily accessible firearms in their home they may have done something like this too. It's not that far fetched now is it?
 

S.Stewart

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I love the title of the thread, thats a little insulting as a female. To equate her punishment was such just because she had a fellow female presiding over her case is disgusting. All the info we have is from that article, none of us were there during or presiding over that case, so in reality we do not know the full details, therefore are not in the capacity to judge.

Even in the real world police officers have been convicted of larger offenses and have been allowed to keep their jobs, ie: beating their wives;  and I am sure the CF is the same way, I have scrolled through the JAG reports, and some of them are pretty interesting.
 

Kat Stevens

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MedTech said:
I hope NONE of your are saying that you've ever gone to the range a little pissed and wanting to blow off some steam while working on your marksmanship principles? If you say you've never done that I call your B.S.

Like I said, look at it this way, if her case was never reported. If there were no witnesses, what would have happened? Nothing. Not a single thing. you'd never know it, and she would continue to show up to work doing what she does.

She didn't go to the range and blast off a few mags.  That would have been healthy.  She pumped nine rounds into the walls of a residence.  Not so healthy.  As for witnesses, that's the way the system is:  You get observed doing something, that's how they catch you.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Kat Stevens said:
She didn't go to the range and blast off a few mags.  That would have been healthy.  She pumped nine rounds into the walls of a residence.  .
..and how many people have been wounded/killed by stray bullets passing through a wall?

She should be doing time......

S.Stewart said:
Even in the real world police officers have been convicted of larger offenses and have been allowed to keep their jobs, ie: beating their wives; 
...and many have lost thier jobs for less.
 

chris_log

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MedTech said:
Smashing things does not equal a domestic dispute. She was upset and went to her room to cool off or what ever. Was Simms in any danger from her being in her own room? NO. Was he physically assaulted? NO. Was this on the job? NO. Does she have a history of abuse of power? Wrongful arrests? Excessive use of force? NO. So what does this have to do with her job? What does this have to do with her ability to assess a situation, deal with it, and resolve it? NO.

She was a police officer. They should (and usually are) held to a higher standard then your average citizen. Police officers are supposed to be able to control their emotions and exercise EXTREME restraint and firearms proficiency. So what happens when she gets back on shift, some drunk idiot downtown calls her a 'pig' or some other equally offensive term and instead of being calm and professional (as she cuffs the moron) she blows his head off. She has proved she cannot be trusted to control herself with a firearm, being a police officer means being able to handle a firearm....so logically she should loose her job.

CF members don't handle a gun everyday nor are they in and around the general public everyday with the power to use that gun. Police officers are. Hence why she should be gone, police are held to a very high standard and any major deviation like this is one too many.
 

medaid

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
...and many have lost thier jobs for less.

But the fact is that there are those who are currently serving in both the CF and the LE realm that shouldn't be. Oh well. Let's just lock this. This isn't going anywhere other then down.
 

chris_log

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MedTech said:
But the fact is that there are those who are currently serving in both the CF and the LE realm that shouldn't be. Oh well. Let's just lock this. This isn't going anywhere other then down.

I wouldn't say lock it yet, nothing's going down the tubes. It's a valid discussion; yes there are people in LE and the CF who shouldn't be there. But is that a good reason to keep them in once they are 'outed', as it were?

"Well, we've got bad people in the ranks so we can't exactly kick YOU out"
 

medaid

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Forget it... I'm tired of playing "what if" games.

It's the ruling. Get over it. If the Crown as that big of a problem with it, they can appeal.

And for members doing stupid things? The West Van PD member that was caught drunk driving, and then flashing her badge to get off was promoted to the rank of Corporal. Want to talk about how police should behave? Keep in mind that we in the CF are no better then some of them.

It's the Pot calling the Kettle black.
 

chris_log

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Funny that...have you WORKED LE before? No? No idea what the job's like?

Have you done any real policing either? Regardless, the 'you haven't done it so you can't comment' argument is flawed, childish and silly. Often, being an outside observer allows you to judge a situation without any bias.

Uh huh... and you should be as well shouldn't you? You're a member of the CF.

I'm an officer to boot, so you betcha I am.

So you should be able to do the same thing no? Exercise EXTREME restraint and firearms proficiency as well?

I do.

Your entire argument is FLAWED. How many CF members can't shoot worth SH^T? TONS. So many that it should have them ALL fired since they can't shoot worth crap, or the way they're shooting, they're bound to injure someone.

CF members don't walk among the general public with a gun and the ability to use it. Some do (like MP's) and those people are proficient in their respective skills.

So the fact is you're playing "what if" games. I can do that too! "What if" you got drunk one night and got into a bar fight and kicked the crap out of someone? So by your "what if" game, the next time you get drunk you would be kicking the crap out of another guy right? So by THAT "what if" if you were ever near someone who brought up the fact that you were an idiot that one night, you'd beat the crap out of him too right? "WHAT IFs"! Great...

Yep. Once you set the groundwork for something like this it is entirely reasonable to assume it can happen again.

Police officers are HUMAN BEINGS. They make HUMAN mistakes. Just like you and me, and everyone else. I find your insinuating remarks extremely insulting, and over reaching.

Outstanding. So if one of those stray bullets had hit her daughter, or husband, you'll be the guy to explain that she's 'just human'. It's the police who are supposed to be protecting the kids from crazies with guns, not to be the crazy person with a gun.

I stand by my comments, as a person with a gun and the lawful ability to use it against another citizen she should be booted from the RCMP as she has demonstrated she cannot be trusted to exercise self control and professionalism.
 
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