A former Abbotsford police officer offered a tearful apology Tuesday after admitting to lying about a crash he was involved in while driving his police vehicle.
"I apologize to ..." Nathan Brown said, faltering.
"I just want to say that this wasn't a true representation of myself or a reflection of the Abbotsford police, and I do apologize."
Brown, 31, who began as a constable with the Abbotsford Police Department in 2006, was charged in October 2011 with obstructing justice.
He pleaded guilty in B.C. Provincial Court in Abbotsford to the Motor Vehicle Act charge of making a false statement in an accident report, and was handed a fine.
On the afternoon and evening of April 14, 2011, Brown and a number of other officers gathered at an Abbotsford Police Association social event, where liquor was consumed.
During the evening Brown's supervisors encouraged him not to drive home.
After they realized Brown had left, a supervisor drove by his house and noticed that his police-issued vehicle was in his driveway.
The next morning, around 6:30 a.m., Brown called the detachment to report that he had been in a minor accident with his police car.
He said that he had been leaving a McDonald's drive-thru when he spilled coffee on himself and drove into a lamp standard.
"He led officers to believe this accident had just occurred," said Crown prosecutor Brian Fell.
About six days after the incident, Brown asked for a meeting with his supervisors.
The meeting took place on April 26, 2011, during which Brown admitted to lying about when the accident had occurred.
He said that his description of the incident was correct, but it had actually happened on his way home from the association event.
He said he shouldn't have driven home, but he did not believe he was impaired.
"He was just sick with guilt," Fell said.
Brown was placed on administrative leave and an internal investigation was launched. After a disciplinary hearing in March 2012 he was given a 10-day suspension without pay for discreditable conduct and fired for deceit.
Brown had applied to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner to have his dismissal reviewed and was granted a public hearing, but he abandoned his appeal in December.
"His dismissal is complete," Fell said.
The worst part for Brown, according to defence lawyer Maegan Richards, was losing a job that he truly loved.
After he was fired, Brown and his family moved in with his in-laws in Castlegar and he now has a job completely unrelated to policing.
"He appreciates that he is the author of his own misfortune on that one," Richards said.
Richards said Brown excelled as a police officer, which showed in positive performance reviews.
He was described in letters of recommendation as being truthful and adhering to ethical and moral values.
The lie was completely out of character for Brown, Richards said.
Judge John Lenaghan agreed.
"It was clearly an act that was out of character. It's an act that will have, has already had, enormous consequences for you," Lenaghan said.
The defence had suggested a $1,000 fine, but under the circumstances, Lenaghan said he did not see a reason to treat Brown differently from any other member of the public and imposed a $500 fine, plus a mandatory $75 victim surcharge.
"It's a very sad case," he concluded.