Saint John police officer alleges Crown tried to destroy his career and reputation

·2 min read
Const. Chris Messer is suing the Office of New Brunswick's Attorney General, the City of Miramichi, and Miramichi's deputy police chief.  (CBC - image credit)
Const. Chris Messer is suing the Office of New Brunswick's Attorney General, the City of Miramichi, and Miramichi's deputy police chief. (CBC - image credit)

A lawsuit launched by Saint John police officer Chris Messer is still inching its way through the court system.

Lawyers for all sides spent an hour on a conference call with the presiding judge Tuesday afternoon, sorting out legal issues like filing briefs and summary judgment motions.

There are still several issues to settle, including one that Mr. Justice Darrell Stephenson said will require all parties to appear in court. No date has been set for that.

Messer is suing the Office of New Brunswick's Attorney General, the City of Miramichi, and Miramichi's deputy police chief.

The lawsuit was filed in 2016, 14 months after a Court of Queen's Bench judge issued a stay of proceedings that halted an assault trial against Messer.

The roots of the case extend back to 2010, after a break-in at Messer's home.

CBC
CBC

One of two men questioned by police during the investigation alleged he was threatened by Messer. The other man claimed to have been assaulted.

In 2012, Messer was convicted of threatening conduct and assault, and spent six days in jail before being released pending appeal. He was later cleared of the threatening conduct charge and a new trial was ordered on the assault charge.

In January of 2015, Justice Judy Clendening stayed the new prosecution after the Crown failed to produce a police file as ordered by the court.

A short time after that, Messer was allowed to return to policing.

In his statement of claim, Messer alleges the investigation, which was handled by Brian Cummings of the Miramichi Police Force, was "performed improperly and negligently."

Messer also alleges the Crown did not have "reasonable and probable grounds" for believing he had committed a criminal offence when it launched the prosecution.

The statement of claim alleges further that the Crown acted "maliciously, for reasons other than the pursuit of justice, namely, to destroy Messer's career and reputation."

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Messer is seeking general, special, aggravated and punitive damages along with interest and costs.

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