COURTS

‘I’m a scapegoat’: former Mountie accused of cocaine theft says he was framed

Craig Robert Burnett drug trafficking trial continues

A former Halifax RCMP officer told investigators two of his business associates were using him in order to protect their actual cocaine supplier.

The statement came from Craig Robert Burnett’s post-arrest interview from 2016, which was shown to court on Monday.

Burnett is accused of stealing 10 kilograms of cocaine from an exhibit locker between 2010 and 2011. The Crown alleges Burnett gave the cocaine to Scott Rowlings, a longtime friend, who passed it off to Mike Kanasevich.

“I’m still confused and pissed off … I’m a scapegoat for these two,” Burnett told the investigators in the eleventh hour of the recorded interview.

In it, the two investigators play a recording of Rowlings telling Burnett he had come clean and Burnett needed to do the same. Burnett continued to deny his involvement throughout the video.

“The part about him and Mike, the cocaine in his house, that could be true,” Burnett said. “The part about me is not. I am not the other party.”

When asked why Rowlings and Kanasevich would choose a respected police officer, rather than a criminal to take the blame, Burnett said they knew he was the RCMP officer in charge of evidence at the port authority.

Burnett said Rowlings was covering for another business partner who he thinks must have supplied the drugs.

“Scott must have told him (Kanasevich) it was me because he didn’t want to reveal who his seller was,” Burnett told investigators.

Burnett, 51, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges. These include two different breaches of trust, stealing cocaine with a value exceeding $5,000, trafficking a substance, transfer of property that was a result of an offence, obstructing a police officer by counselling a witness to lie and intent to mislead.

The judge-only trial, being heard by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice James L. Chipman, continues Tuesday. The trial began on Jan. 21 and is scheduled to last 23 days.