Granted bail while appeal proceeds, Doug Snelgrove heads home in time for Christmas

·2 min read
Doug Snelgrove, a St. John's police officer convicted in May of sexually assaulting a young woman in her living room, will await the outcome of his appeal outside of prison, a judge ordered Tuesday. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)
Doug Snelgrove, a St. John's police officer convicted in May of sexually assaulting a young woman in her living room, will await the outcome of his appeal outside of prison, a judge ordered Tuesday. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)
Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

A St. John's police officer convicted earlier this year of committing a serious sex crime while on duty will be released from prison in time for the Christmas holidays as he awaits his appeal hearing.

Doug Snelgrove was sentenced last month to four years behind bars for sexual assault on a civilian in 2014. He was serving his sentence at a correctional facility in Bishop's Falls until Tuesday morning, when a Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal judge granted him bail.

Justice Gale Welsh permitted Snelgrove his freedom on a number of conditions, including that he remain at his home in St. John's, unless required to attend elsewhere in the province for the purpose of employment.

He cannot leave Newfoundland and Labrador and was ordered to surrender his passport.

4th trial on the table

Snelgrove's case has been working its way through the provincial justice system since his arrest in 2015, sparking intense public scrutiny of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and resounding support for the survivor of his crime, who is known as Jane Doe because of a publication ban.

In her victim impact statement this fall, the woman said Snelgrove's assault, and the investigations and trials that followed, had left her considering suicide.

Snelgrove, who remains a member of the police force until the case is resolved, has hired a Toronto-based attorney to handle his appeal. His legal bills are no longer being covered by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association, however, according to president Mike Summers.

Summers would not disclose the total amount paid by the police association to Snelgrove's previous defence attorneys. He also declined to say when the RNCA stopped footing that bill.

Toronto lawyer Janani Shanmuganathan filed the appeal on Snelgrove's behalf on Dec. 13, requesting either a reduced sentence or a fourth trial. A date for his appeal hearing has not yet been set.

If his appeal is unsuccessful, Snelgrove will return to prison to continue serving his sentence.

Snelgrove's first two trials were tossed out due to judicial errors.

Snelgrove is arguing the justice of his third trial also made a mistake when he instructed the jury prior to Snelgrove's conviction in May.

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