Rogue Police

News Report

Rookie Officers Described Stickney as ‘Staggering’

The Provincial Court trial is underway for Insp. Al Stickney, charged with care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired.

  • Stickney's co-worker Insp. Doug Wylie testified that “over 3 hours they each consumed 10 bottles of beer plus a shot of tequila.”
  • Rookie arresting officers Cst. Cummine and Cst. Senger testified they “watched Stickney swaying and staggering over half a city block for 6 minutes before he got into his van and revved the engine.”
  • Sgt. Tim Korchinski, subpoenaed to testify against his crony, said “Stickney had a strong smell of alcohol, slow walk and speech.”
  • Despite the lack of a breath test caused by Korchinski's interference with the arrest, Stickney was found guilty, must surrender his driver's licence, and pay $690.
Insp. Al Stickney
Insp. Allan Stickney Over 3 hours Stickney quaffed 10 bottles of beer and a shot of tequila, then left Lydia's Bar and staggered down Broadway Avenue to his van. Stickney was arrested for drunk driving by Saskatoon Police rookies Cst. Tara Cummine and Cst. Crystal Senger.

SASKATOON  —   City police Insp. Al Stickney surrendered his driver's licence, shelled out a fine and victim surcharge of $690 and walked away from the provincial courthouse Friday morning after a judge found him guilty of having control of a vehicle while drunk.

No one gave the high-ranking officer a ride, and no one walked with him except a crowd of reporters, whose requests for comment he quietly refused.

The 27-year police veteran could be back on the road again in three months, through the province's Ignition Interlock program, court heard. His career remains an open question, however.

Shortly after Regina-based Judge Violet Meekma issued the guilty verdict against him, a city police spokesperson issued a media release stating Stickney will now be subject to an “internal administrative review.” Meanwhile, the 53-year-old remains on paid suspension in connection with the off-duty incident.

Police Chief Clive Weighill “will reserve any statement on this issue pending the outcome of the internal review,” the statement concluded.

Stickney's lawyer, Jay Watson, told reporters he sees several grounds for an appeal in Meekma's written decision, but his client has not decided whether to pursue the case further.

When asked what sanctions Stickney could face on the job, Watson said, “We'll find out shortly, I expect.”

Although dismissal is one possibility, Watson said police officials have “a whole slate of options” for dealing with the case. He knows of officers who have kept their jobs despite acquiring a criminal record for assault, he added.

Stickney was arrested by two rookie constables after leaving a Broadway Avenue bar with a friend around 2 a.m. on July 28, 2007, and starting up a van parked on a nearby street. The officers, who did not recognize him at the time, testified during his trial that both Stickney and his friend appeared extremely drunk as they walked to the van.

The arrest was cut short when another senior officer, Sgt. Tim Korchinski, arrived at the scene as backup. He “unarrested” Stickney and told the constables he was using “officer discretion” to take Stickney home in a marked cruiser.

Korchinski reported the incident to the police service's professional standards division the following day and, after further investigation, the case was referred to Justice officials for advice, which resulted in the criminal charge.

Korchinski was initially suspended with pay alongside Stickney, under suspicion of interfering with an investigation. He was reinstated after an internal review cleared him of wrongdoing. He later testified he took his superior officer home in order to avoid tying up scarce police resources at a busy time.

During Stickney's trial, longtime friend and co-worker Insp. Doug Wylie said he was with Stickney and another friend for most of the night, and each of them had consumed six pints of beer – equivalent to 10 bottles – as well as a shot of tequila before he left and took a cab home.

Stickney did not testify at his trial. Watson argued the rookie constables did not have reasonable and probable grounds to arrest him – an assertion Meekma rejected based on the officers' descriptions he and his friend had been “swaying” and “staggering” before they got to the van.

Meekma upheld a defence application to exclude evidence from a conversation Korchinski had with Stickney in the back of his cruiser on the way home, on the basis Stickney's rights were not read to him and he was technically under arbitrary detention at the time.

However, she rejected a defence bid to exclude Korchinski's observations of the senior officer – a strong smell of alcohol, slow walk and speech – as evidence. The same observations would likely have been made by the rookie constables if Korchinski had not stepped in and reversed their arrest, Meekma noted.

“Because of his intervention, the officers were thwarted from obtaining further evidence themselves,” she wrote.

Read the full legal decisions 

R. v. Stickney, 2008 SKPC 152
Saskatchewan Provincial Court / Judge V.H. Meekma / Conviction

R. v. Stickney, 2009 SKQB 282
Saskatchewan Queen's Bench Court / Judge M.D. Action / Appeal: Conviction Upheld