Guilty pleas in attack on Mountie

A pair of men charged with aggravated assault following an attack that left an RCMP constable lying unconscious

A pair of men charged with aggravated assault following an attack that left an RCMP constable lying unconscious on a road east of Kamloops have pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

Jerry Lee Lamar and Leon Francis Leclerc each pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday to one count of assaulting a peace officer.

The pair had been charged with one count each of aggravated assault with an attempt to wound, maim or disfigure following an incident in Pritchard. Lamar had been facing an addition charge of failing to provide a breath sample.

Court has heard Lamar and Leclerc were stopped by a one-man police roadblock on July 5, 2014. According to dash-camera footage played in court at a pre-trial hearing, RCMP Const. Paul Koester asked Lamar to provide a sample of his breath.

Lamar refused and an altercation ensued, culminating in a beating of Koester that appeared, according to the footage, to leave him unconscious.

Lawyers had argued at earlier hearings that Lamar and Leclerc were acting in self-defence, fearful that Koester was reaching for his sidearm.

Koester is the Mountie who shot and killed 22-year-old Ian Bush during a 2005 altercation at the RCMP detachment in Houston, a small town near Smithers.

Koester was cleared in the subsequent investigation and no charges were laid.

Lamar and Leclerc had been expected to stand trial before a B.C. Supreme Court jury starting this week. They will return to court on Monday, Oct. 31, to set a date for sentencing.

 

KTW is applying through court for a digital copy of Koester’s dash-cam footage to be published online.

 

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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