Dario Devic had a major lapse in judgment when he arranged to meet a woman posing as a 15 year old in Sept. 2016, his lawyer Rishi Gill admitted in B.C. Provincial Court on Tuesday.
"He is well aware that he has disgraced the uniform," said Gill.
But Gill argued during Devic's sentencing hearing that the former Surrey RCMP officer never believed the woman — a then-30-year-old member of the vigilante group, Creep Catchers, named Danielle Van Vliet — was under 16.
Devic entered a guilty plea to the charge of breach of trust in August. Gill says a more serious charge of child luring will be stayed.
The former police officer sat through the hearing quietly, wearing a grey suit, purple shirt, a tidy beard and glasses. Several people — family and friends — sat in the gallery to support him.
Devic eventually stood to speak to the court and struggled through tears as he thanked his wife, inlaws and friends who have supported him.
"I'm truly and deeply sorry that I've put myself and everybody around me through this," he said.
Lawyers for the Crown are seeking a conditional one-year jail sentence for Devic to be served in the community. They want him to be placed under strict house arrest for the first six months, and then under a curfew after that.
Devic's lawyer is seeking a conditional discharge.
Gill told the court on Tuesday that his client investigated the claims made by Van Vliet regarding her age during a 200-email exchange in order to debunk them. Gill said the claims that Van Vliet was an honour roll high school student and a youth soccer player were possible to check.
"[It was] actually quite a clever piece of detective work, if I can put it that way," Gill told the judge.
Gill later told the judge he can forget about all of his arguments on the topic of Devic's perception of Van Vliet's age when deciding on a sentence.
Both defence and Crown agree that the main purpose of the sentencing ought to be denunciation and deterrence.
The judge's decision is expected Oct. 19, 2018.
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