An ex-mountie who was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow RCMP officer has been found not guilty.
Const. Jason Tress was found not guilty in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Friday, in relation to an alleged incident at a party in northwest Alberta in 2012.
“I’m very happy with the decision, Mr. Tress is very happy with the decision,” said defence lawyer Maurice Collard.
“I appreciate that the flavour of the day is for government to pick on police officers, however for ASIRT (Alberta Serious Incident Response Team) to be digging up garbage from 2012, that has already been found to be unfounded, is shameful.
“This community needs more good police officers, not less, and they should stop being targeted. Mr. Tress is very happy he won the trial, but the career and reputation of a good police officer has been destroyed. That remains a tragedy.”
The crown prosecutor was not available for comment following the verdict.
Justice Nathan Whitling gave his decision Friday morning, stating he was not persuaded that Tress was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence provided.
The female officer, whose name cannot be identified due to a publication ban, said she was sexually assaulted during a March 1, 2012 party for an officer being transferred out of the small community detachment.
Whitling said he had no reason to believe the complainant was being intentionally dishonest during the trial. But due to various reasons, including inconsistent statements regarding the alleged incident, guilt beyond a reasonable doubt could not be proven.
“Her evidence was not preferred by this court. It was not picked over the evidence of Mr. Tress. The crown could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and I think that should have been known in 2012,” said Collard.
This is the second time Tress was cleared of sexual assault. He was found not guilty in 2019 a trial relating to an alleged incident on Canada Day 2016.
Earlier this year, Tress was convicted of breach of trust and sentenced to house arrest and 100 hours of community service. Tress was found guilty of breach of trust in September 2019 for his actions in May 2016, when he and other officers responded to a 911 call.
Tress was transferred to Red Deer detachment in 2012. He served in the city for a number of years and is no longer an RCMP officer.