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

Williams Lake Slo-Pitch League geared up for year-end tournament

“It’s been a great year and we’re looking forward to this weekend,” Barbondy said.

Delay powers way to berth at strongman nationals

Delay finished in the top four in his weight division in Richmond at the provincial championships

Joe Borsato leaves the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin

Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin coordinator Joe Borsato bid farewell to his position at the museum

SD27 hires new finance manager

Barrett Gaunce is presently corporate controller for Northwest Territories Housing Corp. in Yellowknife

Second Rudy Johnson Bridge suspect in custody: RCMP

Michael Drynock is accused of kidnapping and attempted murder

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read