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Halifax police officer found guilty of voyeurism

Const. George Edward Farmer unofficially patrolled Esquire Motel

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caption Const. George Edward Farmer, second from the left, stands with his legal team, right and a supporter, left, before entering the courtroom Jan. 18, 2019
Matt Stickland

Halifax Police Const. George Edward Farmer was found guilty of voyeurism, trespassing at night and breach of trust by a public officer on Friday.

Judge Chris Manning found Farmer, 47, not credible in explaining his actions during his testimony. His story was not credible because he patrolled the Esquire Motel in Bedford without telling the dispatcher what he was doing or where he was. He patrolled for months and gathered no evidence of wrongdoing.

Farmer testified he started patrolling the motel in 2016, after a call made him question if it was being used for prostitution. He patrolled it regularly for months before being investigated by Halifax Regional Police in September 2017. He was charged in December 2017.

Farmer testified he patrolled the motel between 11 p.m. and midnight during his break. When he was being investigated, Farmer was seen walking behind the motel, unscrewing light bulbs and looking in windows. He testified he was making sure no women were being assaulted or crimes were being committed in the rooms.

Manning said Farmer’s actions were not consistent with someone who was telling the truth.

For example, he did not believe Farmer’s explanation for the night when he ran into the woods. In that instance, Farmer was looking into a room near front office. He then ran into the woods for two minutes before coming back. Farmer said he had to use the washroom.

Manning said since he was on his lunch break, a police officer would have gone somewhere to relieve himself. Or, if it was emergency, he would have urinated in the woods in front of him, instead of running. The judge said that a better explanation is Farmer thought someone in the front office had seen him and he ran away to avoid being caught.

At one point a female undercover RCMP officer was put into one of the motel rooms and instructed to watch TV in shorts and a tank top with her blinds open. Farmer looked in her window eight times over two nights. The judge found Farmer’s explanation — he was trying to determine if it was the same woman from the 2016 call — was not believable.

Farmer was not seen acting sexually or taking pictures during his patrols and no pictures were found on his phone. However, Manning ruled motel guests expected privacy,  so sexual activity was not required for a conviction.

Farmer is an experienced officer who joined Halifax Regional Police in 2006.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 12, 2019.

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