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HomeNewsCrown admits disgraced officer suffered from work related PTSD

Crown admits disgraced officer suffered from work related PTSD

KAWARTHA LAKES-The Crown Attorney who prosecuted a Kawartha Lakes Police Officer on a charge of Breach of Trust has admitted that the officer suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of two workplace incidents.

Detective Constable Jeff Burke pled guilty to one count of Breach of Trust on May27th.

Burke was attempting to execute a search warrant in Lindsay when he was hit in the face by a man wielding a machete on April 14, 2011. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to Ross Memorial Hospital. Burke says after they stitched him up and he went right back to work.

“I’ve really struggled in finding a way to articulate how this attack has affected me.” Burke wrote in his victim impact statement. “That’s not because it hasn’t affected me, but because it’s done more emotional and psychological harm than physical harm, and that’s not something I’m comfortable talking about.”

On April 10th 2018, Detective Constable Burke was charged with theft under $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and breach of trust.

Police say he was caught stealing drugs from an evidence locker at the police station. On May 3rd, 2018 he was charged with two counts of fraud under $5,000 and one count of breach of trust after new evidence was uncovered according to the police service.

Read the full story here: https://www.kawartha411.ca/2019/05/27/police-officer-charged-in-theft-of-drugs-from-evidence-locker-says-not-enough-done-to-treat-his-ptsd/

Burke was back in court today for sentencing submissions. His lawyer Harry Black told the court there was no doubt Burke suffered from PTSD as a direct result of two incidents, the machete attack and the shooting of a Peterborough Police Officer in Lindsay.

A drug raid on an alleged crack house in Lindsay went bad. There was an exchange of gunfire and Peterborough Police Constable Keith Calderwood was shot and seriously injured. Another man was killed. The Peterborough Police Emergency Response Unit had been called to assist with the execution of a high risk search warrant at a home on Georgian Street in Lindsay. The incident received widespread news coverage but what many people don’t know is that Constable Burke wrote the warrant for the raid.

Burke recalls Calderwood saying “Burkie, tell my wife and my kids I love them”, I thought he was dead, dying, he passed out after that.”

Kawartha Lakes Police service took issue with that and at least one police officer wrote a statement to the court saying that Calderwood never said those words nor did Burke assist him on that day.

However today the Crown Attorney admitted that those words may have been said but possibly not directly to Burke. Black also reiterated that Burke had held Calderwood’s hand after the shooting. The Crown did not dispute that today. ” The exact details about what transpired at the scene have relevance to this hearing only in how they affect his PTSD, no one is denying he has PTSD.”

Today Burke apologized for his actions that lead to the charges. “So many people I need to apologize too. My family, my coworkers. I am sorry to the people of Lindsay.” Burke said. “Anytime an officer does anything wrong it paints them all (police) with the same brush. I feel bad for the hurt and shame I have brought on them.”

He went on to talk about the support he has received from his family financially and mentally. “Thankfully I have an amazing family to pick me up every time I fell.”

Burke also said there have been some blessings come out of the incident. “I was able to go to Europe with my grandfather and spend time with my ailing grandparents which I wouldn’t have been able to do before.”

Burkes lawyer is asking for a Conditional Discharge or a Suspended Sentence. Black cited a number of different cases where officers had been in similar circumstances with extenuating circumstances and did not receive jail time. He told the court Burke has already paid a heavy price.

“Anybody who doesn’t think the process of going through this isn’t  a deterrent doesn’t understand it. It is a soul shattering experience.” Black stated. Black said his client had lost his standing in the community, was arrested, charged, he’s been shamed, and suffered financially.

According to Black anything other than the two options he provided would mean Burke would automatically lose his job. “I submit the principle of collateral damage must also be considered.”

Burke is married with two children. “He’s not trained for anything else. The prospects of employment in Lindsay would be bleak to non existent.” Black said. ” He had a significant impact on the wellbeing of the community at his own expense. But for those two incidents he wouldn’t be sitting here.”

Black feels the circumstances of the case and the offender as well as the story the court heard justify a non-custodial sentence.

The Crown completely disagreed. “A Conditional Discharge would be contrary to public interest.” Moull stated. What differentiates this offence is it caused the drug portion of eight prosecutions to be discontinued. The community impact on this case, the fact that a police officer stole from a local business using his position to do so, calls for a conviction to be registered.”

Burke had also been charged with stealing drugs from a local drugstore. That charge was dropped.

The Judge will now take time to consider the issue. It will come back to court on August 22.










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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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