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AB:Cop who took bag of marijuana home just a 'lazy police of

by papapuff » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:12 pm

Cop who took bag of marijuana home just a 'lazy police officer,' lawyer argues

Robert Cumming is charged with breach of trust, theft under $5K and possession of a controlled substance

CBC News Posted: Oct 17, 2017

Calgary police Const. Robert Cumming is simply a "lazy police officer" who didn't want to get caught up in 90 minutes of paperwork. So he brought home a backpack containing marijuana, according to his lawyer, during final arguments Tuesday at his client's trial.

Cumming, 44, is charged with breach of trust, theft under $5,000 and possession of a controlled substance, accused of taking an ounce of marijuana to his house instead of logging it as property at the district office.

Last year, Cumming was set up in a sting where he was given a backpack with marijuana by undercover officers and observed taking it home. First he put it in a garbage can in an alley behind his house. Hours later, surveillance officers watched as he retrieved it and brought it inside.

"The evidence is overwhelming," said prosecutor Richard Tchir in his closing arguments.

Before final submissions were made, Cumming testified in his own defence and admitted to breaching policy when he took the backpack of marijuana home. However, he said he had no plans to use it himself despite the fact he smokes for depression, anxiety and insomnia.

"He admits he didn't follow procedure," said defence lawyer Paul Brunnen. "He's guilty of a breach of regulations."

Back in 2015, police were investigating several other police officers for corruption-related offences when they intercepted text messages between Cumming and his then-partner, Const. Bryan Morton.

'If nobody ever sees me...'

Those messages prompted a separate, seven-month investigation led the anti-corruption officers. It involved looking into all drug-related calls Cumming attended between 2013 and 2015.

In a message sent to Cumming, Morton references a conversation he had with his then-fiance.

"I told her it was prolly [sic] weed that you took that was to be booked in because I've done that before," Morton said.

The conversation continues to focus on marijuana and eventually Cumming texts: "If nobody ever sees me I have plausible deniability."

But in court Cumming said that conversation had to do with marijuana at a party and was not an admission he had stolen exhibits.

Morton and five others — mostly current, former and civilian CPS members — are facing unrelated allegations of corruption, harassment and breach of trust.

Decision in December

The officer was also questioned about five drug-related calls he responded to, none of which ended with Cumming reporting he'd found marijuana.

He testified he either didn't remember the call, hadn't found any drugs, flushed marijuana down the toilet or didn't have a search warrant to retrieve them.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Smoke, ended with Cumming's arrest on June 3, 2016. He is suspended from duty with pay pending the outcome of his trial.

The trial, which began in February, has wrapped up following closing arguments. Provincial court judge Jerry LeGrandeur will deliver his decision in December.

If Cumming is found to have committed the offences, Brunnen will argue his client was entrapped, set up by fellow officers.
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