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Surrey Mountie denounced as 'predator' for abusing power to pursue teenage sex worker, court hears

Cpl. Peter Leckie has been a member of Surrey RCMP since 2010. In October, he pleaded guilty to three counts of breach of trust. (Surrey RCMP - image credit)
Cpl. Peter Leckie has been a member of Surrey RCMP since 2010. In October, he pleaded guilty to three counts of breach of trust. (Surrey RCMP - image credit)

A Surrey RCMP officer abused his power to search police databases for information on a troubled 19-year-old sex worker and her mother, then appeared at their home under false pretences to pursue a sexual relationship with the teenager, a B.C. court heard Wednesday.

When they first met in 2014, Cpl. Peter Leckie knew the young woman had recently experienced the murder of her father, a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and entry into the sex trade, she said in a victim impact statement.

"I was in an extremely dark place and you took advantage of that," the victim told Leckie's sentencing hearing. Her identity is covered by a publication ban.

The young woman's mother told the court she felt sick to her stomach when she learned Leckie had inappropriately accessed her own files in order to pursue her daughter.

"I feel you were a predator and she was your prey," the mother said in her victim impact statement.

"She was struggling with mental illness and had just entered the sex trade. She was a gorgeous teenage girl and you were attracted to her."

In October, Leckie pleaded guilty to three counts of breach of trust for accessing three women's confidential files without authorization for the purpose of his own sexual gratification, the court heard.

A Crown prosecutor suggested that Leckie specifically targeted women whose personal circumstances and vulnerabilities made it unlikely his colleagues would question his interest in their files.

In one case, he shared confidential information from a police database with a woman he had targeted. She did not provide a victim impact statement.

No jail time is being recommended. Crown prosecutors and defence made a joint submission Wednesday calling for an 18-month conditional sentence, beginning with six months of house arrest and electronic monitoring, followed by a year of probation.

'My actions have brought shame'

Leckie, a 38-year-old Langley resident, sniffled as he read out an apology to the court, saying he is profoundly sorry for what he's done.

"My actions have brought shame on myself, my profession and the organization I proudly serve," he said.

Leckie said he had dreamed of being a police officer since he was a child, and during his 13 years with the RCMP he consistently prioritized his duty to the force over his own well-being. He said he has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Despite my dedication, I failed to recognize the toll that years of service had taken on my health. Nonetheless, I take full responsibility for my actions," Leckie said.

The young woman who spoke during sentencing said there could be no appropriate apology for what he has done.

"The best apology would be to live a better life as a better man doing better things," she said.

"This thing that you've done is going to follow you around for the rest of your life, and that's enough for me."

The hallway outside courtrooms in Surrey's new provincial courthouse.
The hallway outside courtrooms in Surrey's new provincial courthouse.

RCMP Cpl. Peter Leckie is being sentenced in Surrey provincial court. (Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca)

She said that in the years since Leckie exploited her, she has left the sex trade and she has now been sober for 21 months.

The court heard that just days before Leckie first called the family home in January 2014, officers with the Surrey RCMP's Car 67 program for mental health had visited because of an incident with the teenage daughter.

Leckie was aware of that incident when he phoned to say he was concerned about the daughter's safety in light of the recent suspicious death of another sex worker in Surrey.

The mother's victim impact statement says she welcomed Leckie into her home and spoke with him without any hesitation.

"As a little girl, I was taught that police were my friends and if something bad was happening, I should look for a policeman to help," she told the court.

That trust, she said, was permanently broken when she learned that Leckie had leveraged his knowledge of the family's circumstances to take advantage of her daughter.

The court also heard excerpts from glowing letters of support from Leckie's family and friends, including his wife. His defence team said in the years before the crimes, Leckie's close friend Const. Adrian Oliver had been killed in a crash while on duty, and he was drinking heavily and cheating on his then-fiancée.

Both Crown and defence lawyers told the judge that while Leckie's crimes could cause the public to lose trust in police and lead to poor morale in the RCMP, he will have a better chance of rehabilitation serving his sentence under strict conditions in the community.

Before this fall, Leckie was facing a total of 15 charges, including sexual assault, but some of those have since been consolidated, while others are being stayed as a result of his plea deal.

Leckie remains suspended from duty without pay or allowances, according to an RCMP spokesperson. A code of conduct hearing has been scheduled for next June.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue on Thursday.