MP Dreeshen re-introduces personation bill

Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen’s private member’s bill concerning personating an officer has returned to Parliament.

Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen’s private member’s bill concerning personating an officer has returned to Parliament.

He wants judges to consider it an aggravating circumstance when sentencing someone who personated a peace officer for the purpose of committing another offence.

The bill died on the order paper when the 2011 federal election was called.

“When citizens see a police uniform, they naturally trust the authority that comes with it. Personating a police officer is a serious breach of the public’s trust and it has the same effect as using a weapon because it forces a victim to submit,” said Dreeshen from Ottawa where Bill C-444 had first reading on Thursday.

Dreeshen put forward the private member’s bill after the 2009 abduction and sexual assault of a Penhold teen. A man who posed as a police officer stopped her outside her home and told her to get into his car, which was equipped with red flashing lights.

Gerard John Baumgarte, 57 at the time, of Red Deer, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, sexual assault and other charges.

He was given a six-month sentence for personating a police officer. The sentence runs concurrently with his 18-year prison sentence for the other charges.

The bill would amend the Criminal Code so that personating a peace officer or public officer to commit another offence is made an aggravating circumstance for sentencing purposes.

Aggravating circumstances cause judges to impose longer sentences, up to the five-year maximum that is allowed.

In 2011, the bill received unanimous support at second reading and the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights was about to bring it back for third reading when the election was called.

Dreeshen said the bill will return for its first hour of debate in early November. Second reading will then be held in a month before voting on whether to send it to committee.

Any amendments will be addressed before third reading, after which the Senate must vote on the bill before it can become law.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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