A former Innisfail Mountie convicted of stalking and tormenting his tenants has resigned from the RCMP.
Hoa Dong La, 47, was to be sentenced in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench today on multiple charges of criminal harassment, extortion and mortgage fraud.
The Red Deer Advocate has learned that La’s defence team is seeking an adjournment of the sentencing.
La announced his resignation in late March, shortly after he was pronounced guilty of the charges against him, said Calgary-based RCMP Sgt. Sylvain Roussel, who led the investigation. La’s resignation is effective Friday.
Charges against La arose from activities relating to properties he and members of his family had purchased in the Innisfail and Bowden area in and around 2005, while he was stationed with the Innisfail RCMP.
A resident of Airdrie, La later transferred to the immigration and passport section in Calgary. The RCMP suspended the constable with pay in 2009, pending the outcome of his criminal trial.
The levels of abuse against tenants including Ed and Jennifer Henschel, Ginia Demyen and Jason Bell were heightened by La’s failure to draw a line between his public duties as a police officer and his private affairs as a landlord, Justice David Gates said on March 23, when he announced that he had found La guilty of the charges.
Because he has resigned from the RCMP and is facing sanctions from the court system, La will face no further disciplinary action from the RCMP, said Roussel.
La’s actions are a reality check for other RCMP members, he said.
“It’s about not forgetting what you swore your oath to, and that’s to help people out in the communities and not to stray from that. It’s about protecting people and helping them out and not abusing your public office to do the contrary.”
Crown prosecutor Leah Boyd confirmed on Tuesday that La’s defence team will seek an adjournment for today’s hearing, but she does not have details about the request nor has a new sentencing date been set.
Defence counsel Ian McKay could not be reached for comment.
Jennifer Henschel, who still lives with her husband in the home that La helped them buy, said she was disappointed to learn that the sentencing hearing will be delayed.
La was charged in early February, 2009 and released from custody at that time. He remains at large under strict conditions.