OPP officer cleared of stunt-driving charge
Racism behind allegation, constable says
Posted By GALEN EAGLE, EXAMINER COURT WRITER
Posted 2 days ago
Peterborough County OPP Const. Lloyd Tapp was found not guilty yesterday on charges of stunt driving and careless driving.
The 43-year-old officer had strong words for the fellow officer who made the allegations against him and those that investigated the case.
"Like I have been saying all along, the whole charge was a crock of lies," Tapp said. "The evidence you have heard today in court is a clear indication of the shoddy investigations of the Ontario Provincial Police."
Questioning why charges were laid against him, Tapp said he is a visible minority who has made four claims to the Ontario Human Rights Commission against the OPP since 2005.
"One might ask then, why were charges laid when such a strong prima facie case existed with a lack of evidence to even substantiate a charge?" he said. "What the public has heard today in court, the public should take heed to the type of so-called professional investigations and integrity of investigations by OPP."
Tapp was charged April 8 with driving at least 50 km/h over the speed limit and careless driving on Highway 115 in Cavan Monaghan Township on March 25.
Tapp was one of several Peterborough County OPP officers who agreed to provide security detail at Queen's Park during the release of the provincial budget March 25, court heard.
OPP Const. Brenda Donnelly travelled with Tapp to Toronto in a marked cruiser, she testified. The two left the Peterborough detachment at about 3:37 a. m. and arrived in Toronto for briefing at about 4:45 a. m., she said.
En route to Toronto, Donnelly said Tapp was driving 180 km/h along Highway 115, between 140 to 160 km/h on the 401 and was obeying the speed limit on the Don Valley Parkway.
"We started going fast, excessive speeds," she told court. "The speedometer was pointing in my direction ... it was at the 180 km/h mark. We travelled that speed for quite a ways, most of the 115."
Donnelly said she didn't say anything to Tapp because she had to work with him for the rest of the day. She made a formal police statement six days later, court heard.
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Defence lawyer William MacKenzie questioned why Donnelly didn't stop Tapp if he was driving at such speeds.
"On your evidence, you sat there quietly while a member of the police service broke the law. You failed to uphold your duties as a sworn officer, correct," MacKenzie asked.
"Yes, yes I did," Donnelly replied.
Tapp testified he wasn't paying attention to the speedometer but was going with the flow of traffic. He said he would never drive at such "ridiculous" speeds.
"Personally, it's against my code of ethics to travel at that speed," Tapp testified.
MacKenzie argued Donnelly was a poor witness who didn't take any notes of the incident. Her testimony also diverged from her police statement, court heard. She told police Tapp travelled 180 km/h the entire way to Toronto, MacKenzie noted.
Given the 134 kilometres between the detachment and Queen's Park and the timeline Donnelly provided, MacKenzie said Tapp couldn't have driven more than 50 km/h over the speed limit.
"The mathematics don't lie here," MacKenzie said.
Justice of the peace Douglas Clark ruled the Crown did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Article ID# 1290712