Surrey RCMP Constable Dario Devic was the target of a Surrey Creep Catcher sting in 2016. (Screen grab)

In court

House arrest sought for ex-B.C. RCMP officer caught in Creep Catchers sting

Former Surrey RCMP constable Dario Devic pleaded guilty, said sorry in court Tuesday

Former Surrey RCMP constable Dario Devic, who pleaded guilty to breach of public trust after getting caught up in a Surrey Creep Catcher sting in Whalley in 2016, told his presiding judge “I’m truly and deeply sorry I have put myself in this situation and everybody around me.”

“The community expects the best from all police officers,” he said, tearing up. “It is not easy to deal with what has happened.”

The Crown is seeking a one-year conditional sentence order (CSO) for the former cop while the defence is seeking a conditional discharge.

A CSO is typically house arrest and a conditional discharge is when an individual isn’t sentenced for a crime unless another is committed within a certain time period.

“I have always been proud to be a Mountie,” Devic told the court, adding his actions should not reflect on other police officers, whom he’s proud to have served with. “They also deserve an apology for my behaviour.”

Devic also apologized to his wife, family and friends, whom he said have always been there for him regardless of the circumstances.

“I hope that from this day on I can be worthy of their love,” he told the court, adding it’s difficult to see other people suffering because of his actions and that he “wholeheartedly” takes responsibility for them.

“I will always have this hanging above my head,” he said. He will have to tell his children about it one day, he told the court.

“I hope to once again be a positive role model for my kids.”

Devic pleaded guilty last month. He was in Surrey provincial court Tuesday and Judge James Sutherland has reserved his decision to mid-October and expects it will take about an hour and a half to deliver.

The judge heard submissions from Crown prosecutor Lauren Chu and defence lawyer Rishi Gill on Tuesday.

Devic’s wife, who also addressed the court, is standing by her man.

“I’m still proud to call myself Mrs. Dario Devic,” she said.

The couple spent a decade working, losing themselves and each other, she said, but despite his betrayal she knows he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

“I simply know he’s not capable of it,” she told the court.

“While he made a horrible mistake, I do not believe he should be defined by that mistake,” she said, adding her husband is living in “deep regret.”

“His dream job is gone.”

Gill said his client “has been vilified in a justifiable way” and “he is here to accept the consequences.” The lawyer took aim at Surrey Creep Catchers who “generated this incident” and maintains “they have to have some accountability here.”

Devic was arrested on Sept. 9, 2016 after Surrey Creep Catchers, a citizen group that aims to weed out “potential predators” and “blast” them in social media, did a sting outside a local mall.

READ MORE: Former Surrey RCMP officer pleads guilty to breach of trust after Creep Catcher sting

The court heard a 30-year-old woman, Danielle Van Vliet, working with Surrey Creep Catchers, placed a “personals” ad on Craigslist — Vancouver, BC >Delta/Surrey/Langley>Personals>Women Seeking Women, titled “Summer Fun (Surrey), with the message “hey!!!! this summer has been super boring and im (sic) looking to meet someone cool to hang out in the sun with,” with a photo of Van Vliet — aka “Candace” — with her age being listed as 18.

Surrey Creep Catchers is a vigilante citizen’s group that aims to weed out “potential predators” and “blast” them in social media. The court heard Van Vliet posed as a 15-year-old girl and communicated with Devic online after posting her bogus Craigslist ad. A meeting was set up outside the Boston Pizza at Surrey Central Shopping Mall in Whalley for Sept. 7 and Devic and Van Vliet met at about 9:15 p.m. Surrey Creep Catchers Surrey president Ryan LaForge and his crew live-streamed the sting on the Internet. Devic ran away.

At that time the Surrey RCMP received an anonymous report that Creep Catchers had posted on Facebook that they’d caught a police officer trying to meet up with an underaged girl. Police located Devic at 1:30 a.m. and drove him home. He was arrested the next day.

Devic had worked on the crash team since February 2016 and was required to be “on call” to respond to traffic crashes. On Sept. 7 he finished his shift at 9 pm. and was scheduled to be on call until 8 a.m. the next day.

The court heard that on Sept. 9, 2016, Devic was suspended from the RCMP, which then launched a code of conduct investigation “based on allegations that Mr. Devi had pursued a sexual, intimate or romantic relationship with an underage female, contrary to Section 7.1 of the Code of Conduct, and that he used his position as a police officer for personal reasons in pursuing a sexual, intimate, or romantic relationship with an underage female, contrary to Section 3.2 of the Code of Conduct.”

On April 20, 2018, Devic was “medically discharged” from the RCMP. After that, the force dropped the code of code investigation against him because it lost jurisdiction over him because he was no longer a Mountie, the court heard. In August Devic pleaded guilty to one count of breach of public trust.

The court heard Devic, who had worked as a constable on the Surrey RCMP Criminal Crash Investigation Team, and Van Vliet had exchanged approximately 200 emails between Aug. 29 to Sept. 7, 2016, exchanging photos as well. Devic called himself “dan donson.”

Chu told the court Devic had sent Van Vliet — aka “Candace” — a “shirtless photo” with the message “Do you like cops?”

When “Candace” told him she was really 15, the court heard, Devic replied “I thought you were 18, are you really 15?”

The prosecutor said he appeared to accept Candace’s claim she was 15 and was “reckless about her age” and had communicated with her about meeting while he was on duty.

“It’s abundantly clear as a police officer that he should have known better,” Chu said.

Devic’s lawyer Rishi Gill told the court his client is no pedophile.

“At no point did he actually believe this person was under 16,” Gill said, with Devic basing this on her representation in emails, pictures and “his investigation into some of her assertions.”

Gill asked the judge to make an order that the photos they shared be released to the media, and neither Sutherland or Chu objected. “I think it’s appropriate these pictures be released,” Gill said. He said he would present in court “numerous letters of reference from friends and family” that would prove “illuminating.”

“Mr. Devic had a very serious error in judgment,” he conceded, but added, “There’s no risk of future offences.”

Meantime, the Crown in its submission asked for a DNA sample from Devic and that he be subject to a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, perform 100 hours community service and pay a $200 victim surcharge.

The court proceedings continue.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Sultans of String swing into town

Show at Pynelogs November 29th

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Nordic club glides into new ski season

Special presentation by Olympian Ingrid Liepa

Remembering the sacrifice

An interview with Australian veteran John Wood, who lives in the Columbia Valley

Sheep-saving mission

On the hunt for a bighorn sheep with a tomato trellis stuck to her head; a Pioneer ridealong

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

B.C. to fund gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to B.C. goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

British Prime Minister Theresa May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Woman searching for father last seen in Nelson in 1999

Johnson’s daughter, Chandra Machin, is searching for her father

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Most Read