Vancouver cop gets absolute discharge in pub assault
Bethany Lindsay, ctvbc.ca
Published Friday, February 4, 2011 4:57PM PST
A high-ranking Vancouver police officer who attacked a man outside a Kitsilano pub in 2009 has received an absolute discharge and will have his criminal record wiped clean.
Sgt. Darcy Taylor was found guilty of assault in November for cross-checking a man in the face with his baton outside the Regal Beagle Pub in August 2009.
But despite that finding, Judge David Pendleton ruled Friday that Taylor will not be convicted in the assault and will not serve any time in prison. The judge said that there is no risk of Taylor reoffending, and it is in the officer's best interest to receive a discharge instead of a conviction.
Pendleton said Taylor was attempting to control an unruly crowd and get out of a dangerous situation when the assault occurred.
At what was meant to be his sentencing hearing in Vancouver provincial court on Friday, Taylor said he was deeply remorseful for the attack.
"This caused me great personal grief," he said. "I think about it when I wake up and when I go to bed."
Taylor is a 20-year veteran with the Vancouver Police Department, and had no previous criminal record.
During his trial, Crown prosecutors presented surveillance video showing Taylor rushing in to hit bystander Justin Wachtel. Wachtel says he was using his cell phone to send a text message at the time of the attack.
Taylor testified that he was surrounded by a huge brawl and had tunnel vision when he rammed into Wachtel.
Wachtel's lawyer Jason Tarnow wasn't in court Friday, but told ctvbc.ca that he respected the judge's decision.
"I'm sure the judge was the very careful with his decision," he said. "He probably looked at all the circumstances carefully."
Absolute discharges are relatively rare in Canadian criminal law. Anyone who receives an absolute discharge will not receive a black mark on their criminal record, although the discharge will remain on the record for one year.
Taylor will have to pay a $500 victim surcharge.