Pubdate: Wed, 13 Dec 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: Kevin Martin
Page: 3


Laziness, not criminal intent, was likely behind a city police
officer's decision to take home seized drugs, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Provincial court Judge Jerry LeGrandeur said he had a reasonable doubt
Const. Robert Cumming took home marijuana handed over to him by an
undercover officer for his own personal use.

LeGrandeur said Cumming's conduct in placing the contraband in his
garbage bin in the alley behind his house before retrieving it hours
later supported the suspended officer's story.

Cumming testified he brought the two baggies, found in a backpack
turned in by an undercover officer posing as a concerned citizen, home
to dispose of them because he didn't want to do the necessary paperwork.

He said he later had a change of heart and took the items from the
trash into his house so he could return to work the next day and
process the drugs as per police policy.

"He acknowledged that was a lazy, improper approach," the judge said
of Cumming's initial decision to dispose of the contraband instead of
doing tedious paperwork. "He testified he had no intention of keeping
the marijuana for himself," LeGrandeur said.

"His first intention was to trash the bag and contents."

Cumming was under surveillance as part of a police sting by the
anti-corruption unit.

An officer was brought in from Lethbridge to pose as a concerned
citizen and turn over what he claimed was an abandoned backpack.
Cumming was given the item while sitting in his cruiser on the morning
of June 3, 2016.

That afternoon, he left the district where he worked to go to his home
on 33rd Avenue N.E.

Cumming testified he went there to make sure lawn work that was
supposed to be done was indeed completed.

He was witnessed going to the alley behind his home and placing the
backpack in his garbage container before returning to work.

LeGrandeur said the fact Cumming was unaware he was under surveillance
supported his claim that his intention was to simply dispose of the

After work, the officer, who is currently under suspension, went to a
bar for drinks, and when he returned home he went back to the alley
and took the drugs into his house.

He was arrested a few minutes later and charged with breach of trust
by a public officer, theft and possession of marijuana.

Cumming testified he had a change of heart and decided he would take
the drugs to work the next day and conduct the proper paperwork, but
never had a chance.

"He acknowledged he didn't follow internal police policies," the judge

LeGrandeur ruled that conduct alone did not amount to breach of trust
by a public official.

He said he could not find Cumming took the drugs for his own purpose
and therefore was neither guilty of theft nor possession of a
controlled substance.

Outside court, Cumming said he was "happy" with the outcome but felt
he had been treated "pretty poorly."

"I don't want to say too much right now," he said.

He said he wasn't sure whether he wanted to return to active duty.
"I'm not sure yet," he said. "I don't know if I really want to."
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