Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer Doug Snelgrove has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman in 2014.
Snelgrove's name will also be placed on the national sex offender registry for 20 years, and he is not allowed to contact the victim.
In handing down the sentence on Friday in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's, Justice Vikas Khaladkar said he hopes it will send a message to people in positions of power.
Khaladkar said he knows that "Jane Doe" — the name used to protect the victim's identity — can't go back to how she felt before the assault, but he hopes she feels vindicated. She was seen crying and embracing her family after the sentence was announced.
Crown attorney Lloyd Strickland told reporters the process took longer than he would have liked, but he was pleased to see the resolution.
"At the end of the day, the system played it out," Strickland said. "The system repaired the damage, saw the matter to a resolution, and today Mr. Snelgrove got four years' imprisonment."
This was the third trial for Snelgrove, who was first arrested in 2015. He was acquitted of sexual assault at his first trial in 2017, a verdict later overturned after the province's Appeal Court found that the presiding trial judge made a mistake when she explained the definition of consent to the jury.
The Appeal Court ordered a new trial, and Snelgrove's case was back in court in 2020. But a mistrial was declared due to an error by the judge in dismissing jurors.
Then, in May of this year, he was found guilty and has been in custody since a sentencing hearing in September.
Each trial has been highly publicized, with support for Jane Doe pouring in from across the province, but the process may not be over. Snelgrove now has 30 days to appeal the verdict.
Snelgrove has been part of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for 16 years and remains a sworn member of the force.
In a statement, 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.
During the trials, the court heard that Snelgrove drove a woman, known as Jane Doe, home from a club in his patrol car and assaulted her in her apartment in 2014. Jane Doe testified she did not remember consenting to any of the acts between them. She also told the court she was in physical pain for a week after the assault and has faced anxiety and depression ever since.
The Crown asked Khaladkar for a sentence of five years and for Snelgrove to be designated as a registered sex offender, while the defence recommended a sentence of 18 to 24 months.