A man convicted of threatening to kill RCMP officers and “everyone” in Russell remains in custody pending sentencing as the court tries to form a plan to protect the public when he’s released.
Albert Dean Crampton was convicted of the offences last week, but he has already spent 10 months in pre-sentence custody — his lawyer suggests that’s already more than enough time for his client’s crimes.
Judge Krystyna Tarwid agrees that Crampton’s sentence may not include further jail time, but she’s ordered him to remain in custody for at least a little while longer before he’s sentenced.
“I just want to work out a plan here so that the public can feel safe, and the court can feel comfortable,” Tarwid said as she delivered her verdict in Brandon court.
It’s an unusual case which has put the residents of Russell on edge.
Crampton, 34, stood trial on Sept. 24 for a run-in he had with RCMP at a Russell home on Jan. 30.
That home was rented by Crampton’s friend, but it was on a list of properties owned by the Russell Inn that Crampton was banned from.
Two RCMP officers arrested Crampton after one of them followed him to the residence.
The arrest was made on the premise that Crampton had breached a couple of probation orders because he’d trespassed and thereby failed to keep the peace.
During arrest, Crampton got in a scuffle with the RCMP officers and made a series of threats on the scene, in the police vehicle and at the detachment.
One officer testified that Crampton told him: “I can’t wait to come back here and kill all you cops … you just wait until I kill everyone in this town … People in Russell are going to die because of you.”
Crampton was charged with assaulting a peace officer, resisting a peace officer, two counts of breach of probation and three counts of uttering threats.
The threats charges alleged that he’d specifically threatened one of the arresting officers, RCMP members in general and the citizens of Russell. He was also charged under the Petty Trespasses Act.
Defence lawyer Dan Manning, however, argued that Crampton’s arrest and detention were illegal.
Even though Crampton had walked into the home unannounced, he had the “implied permission” to be there from his friend, the tenant. If Crampton wasn’t trespassing, then he wasn’t violating his probation and, therefore, there were no grounds for arrest or detention.
As a result, Manning argued, any evidence collected due to the unlawful arrest should be tossed out under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Manning suggested that authorities simply didn’t want Crampton in town.
It wasn’t noted at trial, but in April 2010 Crampton was convicted in Toronto of two counts of performing an indecent act by masturbating while watching young females. He later moved to Russell.
The day of the confrontation, an off-duty officer had followed Crampton to the home in question after spotting him near the town’s school and daycare.
That officer also testified that he knew that young children also lived at the home of Crampton’s friend, although court heard they weren’t there at the time of his arrest.
On the other hand, Crown attorney Ron Toews said police were simply performing their duty in good faith.
Tarwid reserved her decision but delivered her verdict on Tuesday.
She dismissed the Petty Trespasses Act charge because there was a chance that Crampton didn’t realize his friend’s home was on the list of properties he was banned from.
Ten days before the scuffle, police had given him the list of properties but it didn’t include addresses. Plus, Tarwid said, the tenant had given him implied consent to be there.
The judge agreed that Crampton was unlawfully arrested for breach of the peace condition of his two probation orders. But, she ruled, it wasn’t a Charter breach or, at least, not a serious one and the evidence should be accepted.
She convicted Crampton of assaulting a peace officer. She also convicted him of two counts of uttering threats — one for threats against RCMP members in general and the other against the citizens of Russell.
He was also convicted of the two breach of probation counts.
Toews requested that Crampton undergo a mental health assessment — his behaviour in jail has been “troubling” and during a previous sentencing for another matter he’d mentioned that he’d thought about killing people.
With bail denied, Crampton has been in custody since the Russell incident (about 10 months). Manning suggested his client has spent more than enough time behind bars already.
Tarwid, however, said she wanted more information. The court didn’t have the authority to order the forensic psychiatric exam requested by the Crown. However, Tarwid asked for counsel to consult with authorities who have had recent contact with Crampton so she can fashion a sentence to protect the public once he’s in the community.
She delayed sentencing until Nov. 22 for that purpose and Crampton remains in custody pending that court date.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 12, 2012