N.S. man tells police board hearing criminal harassment charge ruined his life

Cape Breton police officer guilty of discreditable conduct over driveway dispute

One of the complainants in a Nova Scotia Police Review Board hearing in Sydney testified Wednesday his life was ruined after Cape Breton Regional Police charged him with criminal harassment and mischief.

Edward O'Quinn and his fiancée, Stephanie Bonner, were eventually tried and acquitted of the charges in 2014, but not before O'Quinn said his reputation was destroyed.

"I was a very successful contractor," he said. "Now you're lucky you get a couple of roofs to do from the negative aspect of this whole thing we were put through by the police."

Neighbour's nephew an officer

O'Quinn was building a house for Bonner on Crestdale Drive in Sydney Forks when they became embroiled in a dispute with neighbours Ralph and Elizabeth Campbell over a shared driveway.

O'Quinn and Bonner were charged with mischief after the Campbells's garbage box was removed. They were also both charged with criminal harassment after O'Quinn reportedly said, "Hey bud, it's only going to get worse," to Ralph Campbell.

The couple claim the neighbours' nephew, Const. John Campbell, influenced the laying of the charges. They both testified Campbell had threatened them in July 2013.

The couple's accusations against Campbell were previously investigated by the Cape Breton Regional Police and subsequently an officer from an outside police department. Campbell was not charged.

The review board is looking into complaints against Campbell, including disorderly conduct, being discourteous to a member of the public and neglecting his duties. Supt. Walter Rutherford, who oversaw the charges against Bonner, and Const. D.W. Reginato, who was an investigating officer on the case, are accused of neglecting their duties. 

Alleged warnings

The couple's lawyer, David Iannetti, also testified at the hearing Wednesday. Iannetti told the three-member board he was approached by Reginato in the courthouse before O'Quinn and Bonner were charged.

Iannetti testified Reginato warned him that his clients had better stop what they were doing or they would be in trouble.

Iannetti said in another incident, Reginato approached him in a courthouse bathroom and said, "The boys are kind of pissed off. I'm pissed off."

Eight days have been set aside for the hearing, which began Tuesday.