Surrey RCMP Constable Dario Devic was the target of a Surrey Creep Catcher sting in 2016. (Screen grab)

In court

House arrest sought for ex-B.C. RCMP officer caught in Creep Catchers sting

Former Surrey RCMP constable Dario Devic pleaded guilty, said sorry in court Tuesday

Former Surrey RCMP constable Dario Devic, who pleaded guilty to breach of public trust after getting caught up in a Surrey Creep Catcher sting in Whalley in 2016, told his presiding judge “I’m truly and deeply sorry I have put myself in this situation and everybody around me.”

“The community expects the best from all police officers,” he said, tearing up. “It is not easy to deal with what has happened.”

The Crown is seeking a one-year conditional sentence order (CSO) for the former cop while the defence is seeking a conditional discharge.

A CSO is typically house arrest and a conditional discharge is when an individual isn’t sentenced for a crime unless another is committed within a certain time period.

“I have always been proud to be a Mountie,” Devic told the court, adding his actions should not reflect on other police officers, whom he’s proud to have served with. “They also deserve an apology for my behaviour.”

Devic also apologized to his wife, family and friends, whom he said have always been there for him regardless of the circumstances.

“I hope that from this day on I can be worthy of their love,” he told the court, adding it’s difficult to see other people suffering because of his actions and that he “wholeheartedly” takes responsibility for them.

“I will always have this hanging above my head,” he said. He will have to tell his children about it one day, he told the court.

“I hope to once again be a positive role model for my kids.”

Devic pleaded guilty last month. He was in Surrey provincial court Tuesday and Judge James Sutherland has reserved his decision to mid-October and expects it will take about an hour and a half to deliver.

The judge heard submissions from Crown prosecutor Lauren Chu and defence lawyer Rishi Gill on Tuesday.

Devic’s wife, who also addressed the court, is standing by her man.

“I’m still proud to call myself Mrs. Dario Devic,” she said.

The couple spent a decade working, losing themselves and each other, she said, but despite his betrayal she knows he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

“I simply know he’s not capable of it,” she told the court.

“While he made a horrible mistake, I do not believe he should be defined by that mistake,” she said, adding her husband is living in “deep regret.”

“His dream job is gone.”

Gill said his client “has been vilified in a justifiable way” and “he is here to accept the consequences.” The lawyer took aim at Surrey Creep Catchers who “generated this incident” and maintains “they have to have some accountability here.”

Devic was arrested on Sept. 9, 2016 after Surrey Creep Catchers, a citizen group that aims to weed out “potential predators” and “blast” them in social media, did a sting outside a local mall.

READ MORE: Former Surrey RCMP officer pleads guilty to breach of trust after Creep Catcher sting

The court heard a 30-year-old woman, Danielle Van Vliet, working with Surrey Creep Catchers, placed a “personals” ad on Craigslist — Vancouver, BC >Delta/Surrey/Langley>Personals>Women Seeking Women, titled “Summer Fun (Surrey), with the message “hey!!!! this summer has been super boring and im (sic) looking to meet someone cool to hang out in the sun with,” with a photo of Van Vliet — aka “Candace” — with her age being listed as 18.

Surrey Creep Catchers is a vigilante citizen’s group that aims to weed out “potential predators” and “blast” them in social media. The court heard Van Vliet posed as a 15-year-old girl and communicated with Devic online after posting her bogus Craigslist ad. A meeting was set up outside the Boston Pizza at Surrey Central Shopping Mall in Whalley for Sept. 7 and Devic and Van Vliet met at about 9:15 p.m. Surrey Creep Catchers Surrey president Ryan LaForge and his crew live-streamed the sting on the Internet. Devic ran away.

At that time the Surrey RCMP received an anonymous report that Creep Catchers had posted on Facebook that they’d caught a police officer trying to meet up with an underaged girl. Police located Devic at 1:30 a.m. and drove him home. He was arrested the next day.

Devic had worked on the crash team since February 2016 and was required to be “on call” to respond to traffic crashes. On Sept. 7 he finished his shift at 9 pm. and was scheduled to be on call until 8 a.m. the next day.

The court heard that on Sept. 9, 2016, Devic was suspended from the RCMP, which then launched a code of conduct investigation “based on allegations that Mr. Devi had pursued a sexual, intimate or romantic relationship with an underage female, contrary to Section 7.1 of the Code of Conduct, and that he used his position as a police officer for personal reasons in pursuing a sexual, intimate, or romantic relationship with an underage female, contrary to Section 3.2 of the Code of Conduct.”

On April 20, 2018, Devic was “medically discharged” from the RCMP. After that, the force dropped the code of code investigation against him because it lost jurisdiction over him because he was no longer a Mountie, the court heard. In August Devic pleaded guilty to one count of breach of public trust.

The court heard Devic, who had worked as a constable on the Surrey RCMP Criminal Crash Investigation Team, and Van Vliet had exchanged approximately 200 emails between Aug. 29 to Sept. 7, 2016, exchanging photos as well. Devic called himself “dan donson.”

Chu told the court Devic had sent Van Vliet — aka “Candace” — a “shirtless photo” with the message “Do you like cops?”

When “Candace” told him she was really 15, the court heard, Devic replied “I thought you were 18, are you really 15?”

The prosecutor said he appeared to accept Candace’s claim she was 15 and was “reckless about her age” and had communicated with her about meeting while he was on duty.

“It’s abundantly clear as a police officer that he should have known better,” Chu said.

Devic’s lawyer Rishi Gill told the court his client is no pedophile.

“At no point did he actually believe this person was under 16,” Gill said, with Devic basing this on her representation in emails, pictures and “his investigation into some of her assertions.”

Gill asked the judge to make an order that the photos they shared be released to the media, and neither Sutherland or Chu objected. “I think it’s appropriate these pictures be released,” Gill said. He said he would present in court “numerous letters of reference from friends and family” that would prove “illuminating.”

“Mr. Devic had a very serious error in judgment,” he conceded, but added, “There’s no risk of future offences.”

Meantime, the Crown in its submission asked for a DNA sample from Devic and that he be subject to a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, perform 100 hours community service and pay a $200 victim surcharge.

The court proceedings continue.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

BUSINESS BEAT: New entrepreneurs investing in Port Alberni

Portal Curios and Oddities opening in Harbour Quay

Saanich man, passenger escape injury in Mt Arrowsmith rollover

A visitor from the South Island escaped injury after rolling his SUV… Continue reading

Port Alberni residents, city council divided on rules for cannabis stores

Public speaks up about pot at committee of the whole meeting

Port Alberni RCMP officers honoured for bravery

Five faced ‘violent, deranged’ male during break-in

Alberni Valley Bulldogs battle against top teams in the BCHL

Bulldogs split weekend games against Spruce Kings, Chiefs

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read