It was on December 21st 2015 Constable Lauren Cheeseman’s lawyer said she was “Just doing her Job” when a high speed pursuit of a bank robber ended in a crash. Standing in the courtroom we heard from the 28 year old constable for the first time who began to cry saying “Five years ago, I swore an oath to serve and protect”, I have lived my life dedicated to bettering the lives and caring for the well being of others”.
On that day in December Cheeseman was at times travelling up to 170 kilometers an hour without lights or sirens activated. The court heard that Cheeseman drove 150 kilometers in a 50 zone and 170 in an 80 at times passing by driveways in residential parts of town. The crown said the speeds are unacceptable.
The defense said Cheeseman was in constant communication with supervisors. At one point she said speeds were more than 130 kilometers an hour she was asked if she was “strategically following the vehicle” she said “10-4 that lights and sirens are not on and she is following at a safe distance.” The sergeant said back “10-4” that it was okay.
The defense says in that communication Cheeseman was not being told to back down despite being well over the speed limit. The suspect’s car crashed into another vehicle with two people inside. The 58 year driver suffered serious injuries including a broken collar bone. Her attorney David Butt says Cheeseman was protecting the public from a dangerous person. Arrested at the scene was then 29 year old Kyle Heath.
He was wanted by Hamilton and Niagara police after a string of robberies, including one that day in Caledonia in at least one occasion he held up a firearm. In court we heard from the defense that the OPP did their own internal investigation and found there was no misconduct.
Cheeseman is currently working for a northern branch of the OPP as a detective saying “I am devoted to the people of Ontario, passionate about the well being of others and motivated to uphold my oath to the best of my abilities and always in good faith”.
Cheeseman’s lawyer has argued that she should receive what’s called an “absolute discharge” meaning she would have no criminal record. The crown has asked for a criminal conviction to be put on the constable’s record and a three thousand dollar fine. New submissions from the defense justice Anthony Leitch has delayed sentencing to June 18th.