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P.E.I. RCMP officer to be sidelined for several months following assault

Kings County Courthouse in Georgetown.
Kings County Courthouse in Georgetown. - SaltWire Network

A 70-year-old man’s assault on an RCMP officer will sideline the constable for up to 10 months.

Claude Joseph Laney was sentenced Thursday to 45 days in jail for the assault. He will be placed on probation for 18 months after serving his sentence and was ordered to write a letter of apology to the officer, Kings District RCMP Const. Hugh Panelas.

Panelas responded to a call last Christmas Eve in New Perth over concerns Laney was drunk and disorderly in a residence.

Laney appeared to be injured and extremely intoxicated when Panelas arrived on the scene. The officer tried to assist Laney, who responded by grabbing a guitar and hitting the officer on his vest protector at chest level.

In struggling to corral Laney, Panelas injured his own knee, resulting in the need for surgery and an eight- to 10-month recovery away from active duty.

“You don’t assault a police officer who is there to help you or who is there to arrest you,’’ said Chief Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr.

The Crown termed the assault a “very serious charge”.

The court heard Laney was so intoxicated the night of the assault that he has no recollection of the incident.

Laney’s lawyer described the assault as being very much out of character for her client, adding the man takes full responsibility for his actions.

The lawyer said alcohol has been a big issue for Laney but that he is making a strong effort to address his problem.

Laney’s lawyer sought a conditional discharge.

Orr said the crime warranted jail time but gave Laney a lighter sentence than the 60 to 90 days of incarceration she says is ordinarily imposed on someone who assaults a police officer but has no notable prior criminal record.

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