Pubdate: Thu, 28 Jan 2016
Source: News, The (New Glasgow, CN NS)
Copyright: 2016 Transcontinental Inc.
Author: Michael MacDonald
Page: 6


A senior police officer in Halifax has been accused of stealing an
illicit substance that was seized during an earlier drug
investigation, according to the independent watchdog that oversees
police in Nova Scotia.

The Serious Incident Response Team confirmed Wednesday that
35-year-old Det.-Const. Laurence Gary Basso - a drug investigator with
11 years of experience on the regional force - has been charged with
theft, breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

The agency says the allegations involve a substance known as "cut,"
which went missing from an police exhibit locker some time between
Jan. 1, 2015 and March 14, 2015. The substance is used in the illegal
drug trade to dilute drugs to increase quantity and

Ron MacDonald, director of the agency, said the substance in question
is 700 grams of Lidocaine, a synthetic compound typically used as a
local anesthetic.

MacDonald said the obstruction of justice charge relates to steps
allegedly taken by Basso help someone else avoid arrest, but he said
he could not offer further details.

"This type of behaviour, if proven, can have a significant impact on
the justice system and ... Halifax Regional Police in particular,"
MacDonald said in an interview.

"Security of exhibits is a fundamental and important aspect of ... the
investigation of offences and the justice system in general. These are
significant allegations ... We were set up to handle these types of

Halifax Regional Police have since conducted an audit of its drug
exhibits, but it has yet to receive the results.

Police Supt. Jim Perrin said allegations of this type are

"Any day a police officer is charged is a bad day in any community,"
he told reporters gathered at police headquarters.

"The public has expectations of their officers. Any time it's alleged
that one of our officers has committed a significant offence ... it's
concerning. That said, Const. Basso is entitled to due process. He
hasn't been convicted of anything."