A trial is underway for a convicted sex offender who allegedly threatened to kill RCMP members and "kill everyone" in Russell.
As the trial began in Brandon on Monday, an RCMP officer told court that he found the threats allegedly made by Albert Dean Crampton so disturbing that he was determined to write them in his notes verbatim.
"I was pretty shocked by the statements," Russell RCMP Const. Darek Eberts testified.
Defence lawyer Dan Manning, however, argues that his client’s detention and arrest were illegal.
"It seems to me that they just didn’t want Mr. Crampton in town and that’s what this is all about," Manning said.
Crampton is charged with assaulting a peace officer, resisting a peace officer, two counts of breach of probation and three counts of uttering threats.
The uttering threats charges allege that he threatened to kill Eberts, RCMP members in general and the citizens of Russell.
He’s also charged under the Petty Trespasses Act.
Crampton has pleaded not guilty to all the charges which stem from a run-in he had with Mounties on Jan. 30.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Matt Lavallee testified that on Jan. 20, he’d served Crampton with a list of properties he was banned from. The list was prepared by the Russell Inn which owns the properties.
Lavallee told court that, 10 days later, he was off-duty when he started to follow Crampton who he’d spotted near the town’s school and day care.
He said he had concerns about Crampton being near the school and day care, but in court Lavallee didn’t specify why.
However, court has previously heard that Crampton was convicted in Toronto of two counts of performing an indecent act by masturbating in a vehicle while watching young females.
He later moved to Russell.
During trial, Lavallee said that on the day in question he continued to follow in a civilian vehicle as Crampton walked toward properties from which he’d been banned.
Lavallee called an on-duty constable, Eberts, when Crampton approached one of those properties, the home of a woman with whom Crampton had been in a relationship.
Lavallee testified that he knew that the woman who rented the home had young children, although she told court that the children weren’t there at the time and had never met Crampton.
The woman testified that she’d effectively let Crampton in — she found him in her home after he’d walked in, presumably because the door didn’t lock properly so she never really bothered.
While Crampton had let himself in, she didn’t kick him out, and they were chatting when Eberts knocked at the door and asked the woman if Crampton was there.
Crampton had gone to a back room after his friend told him police were at the door.
Initially, the woman told Eberts that Crampton wasn’t there but changed her mind when the officer "bluffed" and told her she could get a ticket under the Petty Trespasses Act.
At her request, Crampton emerged and Eberts testified that he told Crampton he wasn’t meant to be there and asked him to step outside.
All of this led to a confrontation between Eberts and Crampton beside the police vehicle.
Eberts testified that he was searching Crampton when he got a call from Lavallee who was watching nearby.
Crampton was on two probation orders at the time, and Eberts and Lavallee decided to charge him with breach of probation for failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
The rationale was that Crampton had failed to keep the peace because he was trespassing in violation of the list of properties from which he was banned.
Eberts said Crampton pushed him when told he was under arrest for breach of probation and told the officer: "I can’t wait to come back here and kill all you cops."
A struggle ensued and Eberts said he used his baton when Crampton refused to comply with demands to get on the ground. Crampton was finally restrained with the help of Lavallee.
Eberts testified that Crampton continued to make a series of threats in the police car and at the RCMP detachment, including: "You just wait you piece of s--t, you just wait until I kill everyone in this town … People in Russell are going to die because of you."
However, Manning argues that the evidence against his client should be thrown out of court — Crampton’s rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated when he was arbitrarily detained.
Lavallee had no good reason to follow Crampton in the first place, Manning argued, noting Lavallee acknowledged that Crampton hadn’t committed a crime when he initially called Eberts.
In addition, Manning argued it was Crampton’s friend, as the home's occupier, who had the right to decide who could be in her home and she’d effectively allowed him to be there.
Crampton, therefore, wasnt trespassing. And, if he wasn’t trespassing, he wasn’t breaching the peace under his probations so his detention and arrest were arbitrary.
On the other hand, Crown attorney Ron Toews argued that Crampton was arrested in good faith by Eberts who believed he was trespassing by violating the list of banned properties.
Not even Crampton believes he should have been at the home, Toews argued. He’d run when he spotted Lavallee following him, entered the home through a back route and moved to a back room when he realized police were at the door.
Toews told Judge Krystyna Tarwid that, regardless of her ruling about the legality of the arrest, the uttering threats charges are independent and should still stand.
Tarwid has reserved her decision whether to allow the evidence and the trial is set to continue on Nov. 6.
Meanwhile, Crampton remains in custody after being denied bail.
During his bail hearing, court heard that Russell’s mayor was so concerned about Crampton’s possible release that he wrote a letter to the court.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 25, 2012