R. v. Jackman
Her Majesty The Queen v. Adonis Jackman
Newfoundland Provincial Court
Handrigan Prov. J.
Judgment: July 6, 1994
Docket: Doc. 1994A-00209
Counsel: John Brookes, Crown Counsel.
David C. Day, Q.C., Defence Counsel.
Handrigan Prov. J.:
REASON FOR SENTENCE
1 Adonis Jackman is a member of the R.C.M.P. He is at the rank of Corporal and has been a
member of the police force for sixteen (16) years. During that time he has served variously
throughout Canada, but most recently and for the greater part of his service he has been in the
province of Newfoundland. He is a Newfoundlander by birth. He is married and the father of two
(2) teenage children. At the time of this offence he was second in charge of the Bonavista
Detachment of the R.C.M.P. where he remains at present, albeit under suspension and restricted
to administrative duties around the detachment.
2 The facts of this case are simple and not in dispute. On October 3, 1992, at approximately
9:15 p.m. Adonis Jackman and another police officer were on patrol in Bonavista. They saw a
vehicle parked near a local business and approached it to inquire of its occupants as to their
purpose in being where they were, there being no obvious explanation as to their presence in the
location. In the meantime, the police officers were concerned as to the enforcement of some local
municipal bylaws proscribing loitering. What transpired was unfortunate, somewhat predictable
and in retrospect unnecessary: Adonis Jackman understood that Melvin Rogers, the complainant,
was refusing to identify himself and potentially in violation of the loitering bylaw. Melvin
Rogers thought he had identified himself adequately to the other police officer and that he was
doing no wrong. Adonis Jackman felt he was justified in arresting Melvin Rogers and Melvin
Rogers believed as fervently that he could resist being arrested. He did. With the advantage of
hindsight, Adonis Jackman now realizes that Melvin Rogers was right.
3 The crux of the assault is this: Adonis Jackman used physical force in arresting and
restraining Melvin Rogers, without authority or his consent. Melvin Rogers was lodged in the
cells of the R.C.M.P. Detachment at Bonavista, Newfoundland from 9:26 p.m. on October 3rd,
1992 until 2:00 p.m. on the following date.
4 The accused was charged with assault on Melvin Rogers by the information of Staff Sgt.
Roy Hill of the R.C.M.P., sworn on February 16th, 1993. On July 6th, 1994, he pled "Guilty" to
this charge and was convicted on the basis of an "Agreed Statement of Facts" submitted jointly
by crown and defence counsel as further elucidated by comments from counsel in court. These
comments more fully appear on the record.
5 It is commonplace to find pronouncements from courts as to the appropriate principles to be
considered when imposing sentence. Sentencing, however, is neither formulaic nor mechanical
in its process. It is visceral and alive. Courts must seek to find the appropriate balance between
what often appear to be competing interests: the interests of the accused qua individual and the
society of which that person is a member. It is never, nor should it be, reduced to a balancing of
the interests of the accused and the complainant. While the reconciliation of interests between
accused and victim, as would appear to have been made here, can never be ignored, it is only one
other factor to be considered in arriving at what may be considered a fit and appropriate
sentence. I note, for example, a reference at the end of the "Agreed Statement of Facts" to the
wish held by Melvin Rogers that "he would like to see Cpl. Jackman get on with his career in the
R.C.M.P." While such comment might more properly have awaited submissions on sentence, I
do not regard it as entirely out of context in its submitted form. I, however, must deal with this as
a matter of public concern and not a private issue between adonis Jackman and Melvin Rogers.
6 I have often stated in the past, and repeat here, that there is really only one omnibus
sentencing principle: protection of the public. This may be achieved multifariously by
emphasizing rehabilitation, deterrence, both specific and general, and the punishment of
offenders. I consider all of these aspects relevant here an balance them equally in making a
disposition. The rehabilitation of Adonis Jackman, his deterrence from similar future acts, and by
the same measure, others, with some measure of punishment, will fulfill the global concern for
protection of the members of society from the actions of police officers acting without authority.
7 An R.C.M.P. officer is entrusted with authority by statute to enforce the laws of the land.
The conferment of the powers and authority of the position of police officer is made by society
for its protection and explicitly and implicitly requires the highest maintenance of the trust
granted. That trust may be violated with varying degrees of severity. Frequently the victims may
be in no position to argue with nor prevail against the abuse of that power.
8 I do not find a serious breach of this trust granted him in the dealings of Adonis Jackman
with Melvin Rogers. In fact by all accounts it was rather benign. While it had the unfortunate
result that Melvin Rogers was arrested and detained for a lengthy time, he suffered no physical
injury and appears to have put behind him this occurrence. He was present in the court room for
the duration of the proceedings, during which the facts were submitted, a conviction was entered,
and evidence and submissions from counsel on sentence were presented. He was not called to the
stand, but his demeanour and the representations of crown counsel as to his position regarding
this, demonstrate that he is prepared to allow this matter to pass for what it was: a
misunderstanding which saw him victimized.
9 Adonis Jackman took the stand to give evidence on his own behalf on sentence. He
apologized openly to Melvin Rogers and generally to the court and the R.C.M.P. He said the last
two (2) years of his life have been the most difficult period of his life and that the charge against
him is a matter of public knowledge in this small rural community in which he and his family
reside. He said this has been made clear to him and that is wife and children have also been
exposed to ridicule and comment because of it. This has placed stress on himself and his family
and have caused much soul-searching and reflection. I believe Adonis Jackman is genuinely
remorseful and that he incorrectly but honestly believed he was acting with authority when he
undertook the arrest of Melvin Rogers on October 3rd, 1992. I also believe that the time since
has been most difficult for them, as, no doubt, it must have been for Melvin Rogers and those
associated with him.
10 In evidence from Staff Sgt. Roy Hill, I was informed that Adonis Jackman has served his
community and the police force well. Sgt. Hill has known the accused since 1982 and spoke of
him as highly and well-motivated and a person who is known as a hard-working policeman. I
was informed by Sgt. Hill that the accused is subject to internal disciplinary proceedings by the
R.C.M.P. and that his superiors have called for a formal hearing before a disciplinary tribunal
and are recommending demotion to the rank of Constable as a suitable disposition. I hasten to
add that these proceedings are currently outstanding and may be resolved in the near future
pending resolution of this charge.
11 Adonis Jackman told me that he has been previously decorated for bravery in his service
while stationed in Western Canada and that he has never been charged or convicted of any other
offence. He says that he was active in community groups in all the places where he has served in
the police force.
12 I am urged by defence counsel to dispose of this matter by granting Adonis Jackman an
absolute discharge. He referred me to section 736 of the Criminal Code and stated that there
were two (2) considerations: (i) whether there should be a discharge; and, (ii) what form that
discharge should take, whether conditional or absolute.
13 Section 736 of the Criminal Code establishes two (2) criteria for the granting of a
discharge; (i) it must be in the best interest of the accused; and (ii) it must not be contrary to the
public interest. The statute marries the two 92) considerations I sated at the outset of these
reasons: the private and public concerns.
14 It is not always self-evident that a discharge is in the best interests of an accused.
Sometimes, despite the inclination to think otherwise, another disposition, such as a fine or
imprisonment, will serve the interests of the accused better than discharging him, even
conditionally. I do not regard that as so here. In my view, it can clearly be said of Adonis
Jackman that it would be in his best interests that he be discharged of the conviction recorded
against him on this date. His previous good character, his antecedents and his demeanour before
me tell me that this is so.
15 There is a strong societal interest in a case of this nature. The mere recitation of the
occurrence - an assault by a police officer on a member of the public - demonstrates the reason
for the concern. Police Officers must not be permitted with impunity to abuse the powers
entrusted to them by that society and on the very citizens who are the fount of the authority.
Would the societal interest be violated by granting a discharge to Adonis Jackman? I think not.
16 The effect of this incident on the accused, with its attendant notoriety in the community of
which he is a part and to which he attests, assures me that the public interest has been well-
served by the preferment of this charge alone regardless of the outcome. Aside from that, the
internal actions of the R.C.M.P. with the suspension of Adonis Jackman and the uncertainty of
what lies before him, will undoubtedly serve as significant a deterrent to him and others as any
penalty this court could impose in these circumstances. I conclude that the accused should be
discharge of the offence.
17 For the reasons I have stated, I am satisfied that the accused should be discharged
unconditionally. Defence counsel referred me to sections 736 and 737 of the Criminal Code to
offer some insight into the rationale for probation. The possible conditions that might be imposed
are those set out in section 737. I am cognizant of the "catch-all" phrase contained in paragraph
737(2)(h) but neither it nor the seven (7) paragraphs which precede it, propel me towards any
conclusion of what conditions I might impose on Adonis Jackman that would better enable him
to achieve rehabilitation beyond what has occurred for him. Nor do these sections help me
conclude what might be done to offer assurance that he will be of good behaviour in the future or
prevent such an offence from being repeated. There are very clear situations when this may be
achieved by conditional discharges. This is not one of them.
18 Neither counsel addressed with me the subject of Victim Fine Surcharges. A Victim Fine
Surcharge is a levy which is discretionary but which is designed to create a fund to be applied
under direction of the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council of the province for the uses of victims.
This is a situation which warrants such a surcharge, which is available on conviction or
discharge. I direct the accused to pay a Victim Fine Surcharge in the sum of $50.00 or to serve
three (3) days in the default of same. This amount shall be paid within thirty (30) days.
19 In conclusion, this matter shall be disposed of as follows: the accused is absolutely
discharged of the conviction recorded against him on this date for the offence of assault on
Melvin Rogers on October 3rd, 1992. He shall pay a Victim Fine Surcharge in the sum of
$150.00 within thirty (30) days of this date or serve three (3) days in prison in default of the
IN THE MATTER OF
the Information of S/Sgt. H.E.R. HILL
charging Adonis JACKMAN contra
Criminal Code s. 266(b)
AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS
20 On October 3, 1992, Melvin ROGERS of Bonavista, Newfoundland was out for a drive
with his wife Blanche and best friend Ray HICKS and Ray HICKS' wife Ella. He was driving a
1988 Oldsmobile Delta vehicle. At approximately 9 p.m., they bought chicken at Ryder's Take-
Out. After buying the chicken they went across the street and parked beside Target Discount
Store, where Mr. ROGERS shut off the vehicle and turned off the headlights. The store, which
was closed for the day, had a light outside that lit up the side of the store. The two couples ate
their chicken and were about to leave when a police car arrived. The police car parked in front of
the ROGERS' vehicle beside the store at approximately 9:10 to 9:20 p.m.
21 Cpl. Adonis JACKMAN (driver of the police car) and Cst. William FRISBY (the
passenger) came there because they were suspicious about seeing a vehicle then parked beside
the store and wished to check for possible violations of Bonavista's loitering by-law and other
22 William FRISBY approached the driver of the vehicle, Mr. ROGERS, on the driver's side.
JACKMAN went to the passenger side of the vehicle. FRISBY asked for Mr. ROGERS' licence,
registration and insurance. Mr. ROGERS couldn't find the items. FRISBY then asked Mr.
ROGERS to come back to the police car which Mr. ROGERS refused to do, stating that he didn't
think it was necessary. Mr. ROGERS asked FRISBY to run his license number through the
23 FRISBY summoned JACKMAN over to the driver's side of the vehicle. When he came
over to the driver's door, JACKMAN spoke to Mr. ROGERS. It was Mr. ROGERS'
understanding that he had supplied his name. However, it was the understanding of JACKMAN
that no name was given to the police. While speaking to Mr. ROGERS, JACKMAN advised him
he was under arrest for loitering. (JACKMAN then honestly believed, although now admits he
mistakenly believed, he had the authority to arrest Mr. ROGERS.)
24 As Mr. ROGERS got out of the car, he stated "haven't you dirty wimps got anything better
to do than to harass people eating chicken."
25 As JACKMAN attempted to place ROGERS under arrest, a scuffle took place. ROGERS
felt he was justified in lawfully resisting arrest at this point in time.
26 The scuffle took place for a moment or two and then ROGERS voluntarily went to the
police car at the scene. He supplied his name to Cst. FRISBY. ROGERS was upset.
27 ROGERS was then taken by JACKMAN and FRISBY to R.C.M.P. Detachment, Bonavista
at 9:26 p.m. and booked in the cells overnight and released next day about 2 p.m.
28 As a result of this incident, ROGERS was charged with resisting arrest, a charge which was
29 It is now Mr. ROGERS' position that justice has been already served and he would like to
see Cpl. JACKMAN get on with his career in the R.C.M.P.
END OF DOCUMENT