A man previously convicted of impersonating an RCMP officer in Richmond will be getting a new trial after successfully appealing his case.
According to a BC Supreme Court judgement, Edmund Paul Kovlaske allegedly falsely represented himself as an RCMP officer while he was shopping for an electric bike in Richmond in September 2018.
He was sentenced in March 2020, after an October 2019 trial convicted him of a sole count of impersonating a peace officer.
“The issues at trial included whether the appellant falsely represented himself to be an RCMP officer to an electric bicycle shop proprietor…and whether the Crown had failed to prove that the appellant was not an RCMP officer at the time of the incident,” Justice Jeanne Watchuk wrote in her Dec. 31, 2020 reasons for judgement.
At the time of the incident, he was allegedly “wearing a police jacket and a police hat,” and told the bike store’s owner that “he ‘worked with the police,’ or ‘worked for the police force,’ and offered a badge,” the court document states.
Kovlaske, who was allegedly seen on a surveillance video from a neighbouring business, left the store after the owner told him the bike wasn’t ready.
In his appeal, Kovlaske alleged the trial judge’s ruling that the Crown had proven the offence beyond a reasonable doubt was made in error.
As a result, he asked the BC Supreme Court to uphold his appeal and enter a verdict of acquittal.
The Crown opposed the appeal, stating there was “credible evidence on every element of the offence,” and that the trial judge was satisfied of Kovlaske’s guilt based on that evidence.
The Crown also argued that “any misapprehensions about the evidence” were minor and “of no significance” compared to the totality of the evidence.
In her reasons for judgement on the appeal, Watchuk stated that there was direct evidence available that wasn’t proffered by the Crown.
“The circumstantial evidence relied upon does not prove an element of the offence…It was an error to find that the element of falsity was proven as the evidence did not support the finding.”
Watchuk noted that there were “other inferences available on the circumstantial evidence.”
Because of this, she stated, the conviction could not stand. She upheld the appeal and directed the case go to a new trial.