Couple bullied by 'ruthless' neighbour in driveway dispute, officer testifies

Cape Breton man dies in crash on Highway 327

A Nova Scotia Police Review Board hearing in Sydney got testy Monday when one of the officers subject to the review gave his testimony.

Const. John Campbell of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service made his own accusations against the complainants, Stephanie Bonner and Edward (Ted) O'Quinn.

"I sat here for four days while you attacked my integrity," Campbell said in a raised voice. "This ends today."

'A lot of grief' to aunt and uncle

Bonner and O'Quinn have been embroiled in a protracted dispute over a shared driveway with their neighbours in Sydney Forks who are related to Campbell. The complainants allege Campbell threatened them and influenced a criminal investigation launched as part of the dispute. 

Campbell, however, painted his aunt and uncle — Ralph and Elizabeth Campbell — as the real victims Monday, telling the review board that Bonner has caused the couple "a lot of grief."

John Campbell accused a "ruthless" Bonner of bullying his relatives, who are in their 70s, and continuing "to victimize them by getting their names in the paper" while the hearing is ongoing.

He claimed his aunt and uncle never had any trouble until Bonner bought the land next door in September 2011, installed speed bumps and refused to let his relatives maintain the road.

Campbell told Bonner his aunt was "terrified to be on that road by herself, because of you."

Board reviewing actions of 3 officers 

Campbell is one of three officers accused of neglecting their duty who are subject to the review. Campbell has already been disciplined by the Cape Breton regional police after it was determined he acted in a disorderly manner and was discourteous or uncivil to a member of the public.

A reprimand letter was temporarily placed on his personnel file and Campbell was also required to take an ethics and accountability course. He is appealing that discipline.

Bonner and O'Quinn, meanwhile, have asked the board to determine if any of the three officers breached the code of conduct and if so, decide on penalties.

Officer 'embarrassed' by name-calling 

At Monday's hearing, an audio tape was played of Campbell saying Bonner and O'Quinn were "probably outside slashing my tires" following an application hearing in night court in Sydney. Campbell acknowledged making the comments after hearing the audio and said he was disappointed with himself.

He denied threatening the couple, but admitted to calling Bonner a "douchebag" under his breath while driving past her on the right of way she shared with his aunt and uncle on May 7, 2015.

Campbell said he was "embarrassed that he used that language" and that's why he denied it to police investigators at first.

When asked by his lawyer, David Bright, whether he had ever interfered with the police file on the couple, Campbell responded: "Never."

But under cross-examination by Bonner and O'Quinn, who are representing themselves, Campbell admitted to writing an email once to the investigating officer asking him "where he was in the investigation."

Charges without questions

Bonner and O'Quinn were acquitted of mischief and criminal harassment following a provincial court trial in January 2014.

The police officer who laid the charges against Bonner and O'Quinn also gave testimony Monday.

Const. Dennis MacSween, who is not among the officers under review, said charges were laid on evidence supplied by the neighbours and other police reports. MacSween said he never questioned Bonner or O'Quinn during his investigation. 

He cited the installation of speed bumps, moving and "dumping" of the garbage box, ruts in the road, erosion, signs removed or damaged and alleged aggressiveness on the part of O'Quinn.

MacSween said the summary of the evidence showed the Campbells felt they couldn't enjoy their property, they were uneasy and the persistent problems were meant to get them to relinquish their right of way.