Officer lied about fraud, court told

Judge left to weigh two versions of story behind shelving unit

Cam Fortems / Kamloops Daily News
July 6, 2013 01:00 AM

One of two Mounties who lived together is lying about an alleged fraud perpetrated by Const. Trent Wessner against Costco Wholesale Corp., a defence lawyer said Friday.

Wessner's lawyer, Richard Hewson urged a provincial court judge to find the Mountie not guilty of fraud, saying "there are lies being told in court" - a web of conflicting testimony he said undermines the Crown case.

But prosecutor Jeff Dyment said Wessner's evidence is shaky. Instead, outside witnesses and a paper trail both tell the story of a Mountie who made a bad decision to file a false claim against the retailer.

The trial that ended Friday saw two versions of events.

Wessner's former spouse, Const. Randi Love, reported to RCMP in 2011 after the couple had a nasty breakup that Wessner took delivery of a set of $1,000 stereo-shelving towers from Costco, but falsely claimed they didn't arrive.

She said he was angry the units were left outside by the courier and decided he would make a false claim they were never delivered - something she tearfully reported only to her parents at the time.

In his testimony, Wessner confirmed that he emailed Costco, informing the company the units didn't arrive on Sept. 1, 2010. While he was refunded his money, he assumed they had been traced and delivered about a month later, while he was away on RCMP training.

He testified he told Love over the phone to pay for the units and made the assumption she did so. No payment was ever made. Wessner paid back the company after RCMP started an internal investigation.

Much of the testimony about the presence or absence of the towers was from witnesses at a housewarming party on Sept. 2, a party with lots of booze and little clear recollection, Hewson said.

But Judge Ronald Caryer noted two other witnesses, friends of Love's, noted the units in the home a few days after the party. One of them watched a DVD movie, operating a player she said was contained in the shelving unit.

Dyment said paperwork from Costco and Purolator both showed the units were delivered Sept. 1 - also verified by the driver who testified in court early in the trial.

There was no paperwork to show the units were delivered on any other day.

"If the court finds the towers were delivered Sept. 1, the accused has lied straight-faced to the court about that," Dyment said.

The prosecutor urged Caryer not to focus on Wessner's and Love's conflicting evidence, but to look at all the facts, including other witnesses and paperwork from Costco and Purolator.

Caryer is expected to deliver a decision in September.

"I know a lot is riding on this for you," he told Wessner at the close of the trial. "I don't take this lightly . . . . I want to give you enough of my time so you have a full and fair hearing."

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