Courts

RCMP officer accused of trafficking had money troubles, court hears

Subordinate surprised when boss was charged

Former RCMP officer Craig Robert Burnett was going through a difficult and financially draining divorce during the time he is suspected of stealing cocaine, a court heard Thursday.

RCMP Sgt. John Paul MacDougall was a member of the National Port Enforcement Team and Burnett was his superior. In 2010, they both worked on a case involving the seizure of 201 kilograms of cocaine.

MacDougall testified Burnett was going through a “messy” divorce at the time of the seizure, and was worried about losing his house and pension.

Burnett, 51, is accused of stealing 10 kilograms of the cocaine from an RCMP exhibit locker between 2010 and 2011. He has pleaded not guilty on seven charges related to drug trafficking.

“I maintain that this is all surprising,” MacDougall told the court. “What I know from 18 years of police work, is that anything is possible.”

Burnett faces six Criminal Code offences and one offence under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. The charges 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 is being heard by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice James L. Chipman in Halifax.