2019-07-17

Police oversight agency testimony commands Day three of Bridgewater’s former top cop’s trial



The third day of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court trial of Bridgewater's former top cop heard mostly from Gord Vail from province's independent police oversight agency - the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) - who led the investigation.

The testimony centred around hundreds of social media messages exchanged between John William Collyer and the teenage complainant three to four years ago.

Not all of those communications were retainable, court heard July 10, as there was inconsistency between the suggestive content captured in screen-grabs by the girl's mother and what Facebook produced for the investigation.

The girl's mother and a close family friend testified that sexually-charged communications with Collyer were found on the teen's social media account in 2016. The teen's mother showed the content to her family physician, resulting in RCMP being alerted to the matter followed by the involvement of SIRT.

Collyer, a long-time member of Bridgewater's municipal police department, was serving as Chief of Police at the time.

Judicial authorizations were executed in relation to the case, leading to the seizures of computer equipment. The girl also gave a statement to SIRT.

Collyer, 55, of Crouses Settlement in Lunenburg County, is accused of touching the young girl with his hand for a sexual purpose and sexually assaulting her between May and July of 2016. His trial is being heard by Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge alone. He's pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Collyer, represented by Dartmouth lawyer David Bright, was placed on administrative leave in August 2016 after it went public that the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the province's independent police oversight agency, was investigating his actions in relation to a female teen. He was suspended in May 2017 when word came that SIRT laid charges.

Collyer had been a member of the Bridgewater's police force between 1990 and 2018. He rose to the rank of deputy chief in 2009 before becoming chief, a role he assumed between 2011 and 2018.

Six days have been set aside for the trial, which continues July 11.

Thank you for printing this article from lighthousenow.ca. Subscribe today for access to all articles, including our archives!