Doug Snelgrove files appeal, seeking bail after 4-year sex assault sentence

·3 min read
Police officer Doug Snelgrove, who sexually assaulted a young woman in her home in 2014, is seeking release from custody as he waits for an appeal decision. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)
Police officer Doug Snelgrove, who sexually assaulted a young woman in her home in 2014, is seeking release from custody as he waits for an appeal decision. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)

A Newfoundland police officer convicted earlier this year of sexually assaulting a civilian while on duty has filed an appeal and is seeking bail.

Doug Snelgrove, a constable with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, was handed a four-year sentence last month for the 2014 assault.

A notice of appeal and bail application was filed late last week, said prosecutor Kathleen O'Reilly, noting that the process is in its preliminary stages and hearing dates have not yet been set.

An appeals process can take months from the date an application is filed to a hearing decision. Trials are generally first transcribed in full. Then the appellant must file a statement of facts laying out an argument for why the appeal should take place. The prosecutor then must respond, and both parties may wait several weeks for a hearing.

The appellant can apply for release from custody while waiting for an appeal decision, as in Snelgrove's case.

The details of Snelgrove's applications aren't yet known, however, as those documents have not yet arrived at the provincial court of appeal from his out-of-province attorney.

Snelgrove, the subject of intense public scrutiny in recent years, was arrested in 2015 after his victim made a complaint to the RNC. He first went to trial in 2017 and was acquitted.

Prosecutors appealed that decision, arguing that the trial judge made a mistake when she instructed the jury.

A second trial in 2020 ended after that judge improperly dismissed additional jurors.

Snelgrove's third trial ended with his conviction in May.

Trials took toll: Jane Doe

The victim, known locally as Jane Doe, testified that she was intoxicated and accepted a ride home from Snelgrove after a night out with friends. She said she could not recall giving consent to any sexual acts between them.

Snelgrove maintained in his testimony that she initiated the sexual acts and consented to them, and that she did not appear intoxicated.

In her victim impact statement, the woman said the assault, and subsequent trials, left her suicidal.

"It's difficult to put into words how much of an emotional impact the events of that night [have] had," she wrote. "Not a single day passes without it coming to my mind. It will live with me until the day I die, haunting my thoughts."

Repeated exposure to her assault over the course of the three trials has left her unable to address the issue in therapy, she said.

"Once court is over, I'd tell myself," she wrote. "I'll get help once court is over."

Snelgrove currently remains behind bars until his statutory release date on May 30, 2024, according to Correctional Service Canada, at which point he will reside under supervision in the community. His sentence ends Sept. 6, 2025.

In a statement last month, RNC spokesperson Const. James Cadigan said the police force acknowledges the sentencing but can't begin any disciplinary process until the appeal process is concluded. Snelgrove remains a member of the force.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting