London sergeant guilty of drunk driving receives 13-month demotion

A London police officer will be demoted from sergeant to constable for 13 months in connection with an impaired-driving case.

Sgt. Barb Martin was charged in October with one count of driving with more than 80 mg of alcohol in the blood and was later sentenced to a fine of $1,200 and a 12-month driving prohibition after pleading guilty.

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As a result of that case, Martin faced two counts of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act for acting in a disorderly manner likely to bring discredit upon the reputation of the force and for being guilty of a criminal offence.

On Thursday, an agreed statement of facts was presented and a joint recommendation called for the 13-month demotion.

According to the statement of facts, Martin was at an undercover police training exercise in Aylmer in Oct. 14 where each participant was provided a single drink ticket and food “as part of their role in the training scenario.” Participants could also buy additional drinks.

Martin, who was scheduled to be on duty until 1 a.m., left at roughly 11 p.m. in her personal vehicle. She went into Aylmer to get food before going home.

At around 11:30 p.m., an Elgin County OPP officer noticed a vehicle speeding down Imperial Road and was unable to catch up to it despite travelling at speeds in excess of 150 km/h. He contacted the Aylmer Police Service to let them know the vehicle was headed into town and a cruiser was able to pull behind the subject vehicle on John Street, a 50 km/h zone.

The Aylmer officer was travelling at speeds exceeding 110 km/h to follow the vehicle and had to cycle through several siren tones before the driver noticed him.

The officer noticed open and sealed containers of alcohol in the vehicle and said Sgt. Martin appeared to be disoriented over where she was headed and showed signs of impairment.

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At 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15, a “fail” was registered on a breath-sample screening device and she was arrested. Further breath samples registered readings of 208 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood, and 212 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.

The statement of facts noted that her actions caused a severe risk to the public but also said she was co-operative with the responding officers throughout her arrest and she entered a guilty plea at her first opportunity on Dec. 18. It also notes that in her 19 years of service, she had no previous disciplinary record and had positive performance reviews.

Through the misconduct investigation, Martin is said to have also provided documentation showing that she had taken steps to “reflect on her actions and address her association with alcohol.”

Martin will be demoted from sergeant to first-class constable for 13 months before being returned to the rank of sergeant (3rd Year).

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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