RCMP Const. Jason Tress (left) leaves Red Deer courthouse on Tuesday with his lawyer Robb Beeman. Tress was found guilty of breach of trust in relation to a May 1, 2016 incident involving a 19-year-old woman. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Updated: Former Red Deer Mountie, disgraced police force says Crown prosecutor

Jason Tress sentencing hearing began on Tuesday and will continue in January

A former Red Deer Mountie found guilty of breach of trust “brought disgrace upon the RCMP,” said a Crown prosecutor in a sentencing hearing.

Photini Papadatou told Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice David Gates that Jason Tress should spend time in custody — which could mean either prison or house arrest — depending on the judge’s decision.

Justice would not be served if Tress was given a discharge or a suspended sentence, Papadatou said.

Under a discharge, Tress would be deemed guilty but not convicted and would not have a criminal record. With a suspended sentence, Tress would typically face probation and would have a criminal record.

Defence lawyer Robb Beeman said he will ask for a discharge for his client when he makes his sentencing submissions on Jan. 7.

Tress was found guilty in September for breach of trust for his actions with a woman he met while responding to a domestic violence call at a Red Deer apartment on May 1, 2016.

Gates said he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the RCMP constable inappropriately turned what began as an interview of a potential witness to a domestic assault into a sexually charged conversation that left his victim “stunned.”

Papadatou said on Tuesday that the court found Tress had “used his position for personal gratification.”

He was not acting in the public interest when “he decided to pursue a personal sexual agenda with a woman who was a witness to a domestic assault.”

It was revealed during the trial, that while responding to the domestic assault at a Red Deer apartment, Tress took a 19-year-old woman alone into a bedroom and commented on her breasts and said other inappropriate things.

When questions were raised later about how he handled the domestic assault he tried to cover up his actions by seeing to it that no charges were laid and kept almost no notes of the incident.

After a rookie officer Tress was training questioned what happened during the incident at the apartment he “bullied and threatened” her and told her he would never work with her again, said Papadatou.

“It can be argued, she, too, was a victim.”

A pre-sentence report and a psychological assessment have been prepared for the judge to review before passing sentence.

There was much discussion about the psychologist’s report, which Papadatou only saw for the first time last week. She had questions about the findings and wanted to cross-examine the psychologist as part of the sentencing hearing.

That will happen at the next court appearance.

The RCMP suspended Tress with pay in July 2016 when the investigation into his actions began. In December 2016, he was suspended without pay and was facing a disciplinary board when he chose to resign last month.

Tress has since moved to Sherwood Park with his wife, who is an RCMP officer, and their son. He now works in the oil and gas industry.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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