RCMP officer acquitted on assault charge

Const. Andy Yung has been acquitted on a charge of assault against Jamie Haller of Williams Lake.

Williams Lake RCMP Const. Andy Yung has been acquitted on a charge of assault against Jamie Haller of Williams Lake, who suffered injuries while in the custody of police on Sept. 10, 2011 in Williams Lake.

Haller was 17 years old at the time of the incident.

Judge Randall William Callan gave his ruling in Williams Lake provincial court on April 22, saying he had no reason to doubt Yung’s evidence.

Summarizing events Callan said initially the RCMP were called after civilians heard a female screaming in the forested area in the vicinity of Midnight Drive and Western Avenue.

When police located Haller, she was hiding behind a home on Western Avenue.

“They identified themselves as police, and attempted to speak to her,” Callan said. “She was not co-operative and continued to be hysterical. They arrested her for being drunk in a public place. She was handcuffed. Crown and defence agreed this was a lawful arrest.”

During the three-day trial held in Williams Lake provincial court Jan. 21 to 23, Haller testified she was punched in the face several times by Yung while she was handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car, and another officer held her legs.

At the trial Yung did not deny that he punched Haller in the face several times. He said he went to the back of the police car and opened the door because Haller was kicking violently. He testified that when he opened the door, Haller kicked him in the face, grabbed his neck in a scissor hold, and began pulling him toward her.

After trying to apply a pressure point to force her to let go, he punched her until she released him from the scissor hold, Yung said.

“Const. Yung’s belief that it was necessary to use force to remove himself from a scissor lock was reasonable,” Callan said in his ruling. “I accept the evidence that he believed he had run out of options, and did not know whether the other constables could help him.”

Evidence presented by Const. Yung was corroborated in part by Const. Dan Hay, Const. Steven Stewart and Haller’s mother Martina Jeff, who testified as witnesses at the trial, Callan added.

Constables Hay and Stewart, also on duty the night of the incident, testified they saw that Haller had Const. Yung in a scissor hold.

“Const. Hay testified he was shocked to see Jamie Haller’s buttocks and feet over her head, and her ankles locked behind Const. Yung’s neck,” Callan said.

At the trial, Haller’s mother Jeff testified she was behind the police car and saw Const. Yung at the right rear door of the car making punching motions with his arm and then pulling back and closing the door, Callan said.

Callan also said testimony given by the civilian witnesses and the RCMP witnesses, stated Jamie Haller was “highly intoxicated, agitated and kicking at anyone in range.”

Outside the courthouse, Jeff said she was very upset about the judge’s ruling.

“I’m an Aboriginal person,” Jeff said. “If that was me going to court for assaulting somebody like that I would have definitely got charged. I would have definitely gotten thrown in jail. It breaks my heart. He admitted that he hit her. What is wrong with the judge? It’s because we’re natives.”

Shaking her head, Haller said she was also upset, and said there was no way she could have got her legs up and over her head to put Yung in a scissor hold.

Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Warren Brown said it was a set of “very unfortunate circumstances” that resulted in the court case.

“Any time a police officer is charged with a criminal offence based on conduct or performance that concerns me,” Brown said. “As the judge said today, police are often faced with violence and unpredictable circumstances. They have a split second often to react and often have to live by those decisions.”

In Const. Yung’s case, the judge advised he found his evidence to be truthful, Brown said.

“At the end of the day, that’s what means most to me. Whether we do right or wrong, it’s based upon whether we’re truthful about that,” Brown said.

“Regardless of the decision today, I’m pleased that comments were made favourable of Const. Yung’s truthfulness.”

The RCMP will have to conduct a duty status review before a decision is made regarding Yung’s activity in the future.

Yung has been on active, but non-operational duty, since the assault charge was recommended by the Abbotsford Police Department on March 7, 2012 after it conducted an independent investigation.

Hillary (Hank) Adam was appointed as an independent observer of the case by the RCMP to ensure everyone was treated fairly, particularly the family.

“The family accepted me as an observer, they had asked some other chiefs from the Tsilhqot’in, but they didn’t have the time to do it and I was the current chief of Canoe Creek at the time,” Adam said.

After the verdict, Adam told the Tribune he was struggling with the judge dismissing Haller’s credibility as a witness to the incident.

“Although some bits and pieces might be left out or didn’t come across, he didn’t accept any of her evidence,” Adam said.

“I find that hard to believe. Obviously the RCMP have been through the process many times and know what the process is.

“If everyone’s giving evidence that measures up to be the same then they know that evidence is going to be used in the courts,” Adam said.

“Regardless if it’s true or not, it’s going to be used as true and credible.

“The part and evidence that was missed is that if Jamie had him in a scissor lock, and she was pulling him down six inches within her face, why were the bruises on the left side of her face? How did the bruises land up on that side of her face? That was left out. There’s no mention of it,” Adam said, adding he was “disturbed” by the whole thing.


Just Posted

An official naming ceremony for the Nekw7usem Bridge connecting the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island will take place Monday, May 17 at noon. (Patrick Davies file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City, WLFN hosting naming ceremony for Nekw7usem Bridge in Williams Lake

The pedestrian bridge connects the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island

Patricia Froberg (from left), Pat Mitchell and Dorothy Ouellette enjoy lunch prepared by members of the Old Age Pensioners Organization for St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday afternoon. Today, May 14, the Old Age Pensioners Organization Branch 93 and the Seniors Activity Centre are hosting an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch with car hop service at the SAC parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Old Fashioned Drive In Lunch on menu at seniors centre today, May 14

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., swing on by the SAC parking lot for an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

(File photo)
Firearms investigation on Winger Road the result of increased gang activity: RCMP

When police attempted to stop a vehicle, it sped away

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association photo)
Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Then-minister Rich Coleman, escorted by Victoria Police, makes his way to the east wing amid a protest blocking the legislature entrances before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. money laundering inquiry testimony ends today with reappearance of Rich Coleman

Responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, Coleman been recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month

Colin Dowler rests in hospital recuperating from wounds suffered from a grizzly bear attack north of Campbell River. He was able to end the struggle by stabbing the bear in the neck with a knife like the one he is holding. Photo submitted
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 B.C. attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport in Richmond, B.C. on Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Meeting police chance to get sense of ‘frustrating’ gang violence situation: minister

Mike Farnworth met with police representatives Thursday following a recent spate of shootings

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue manager Ken Neden, as he goes over the events of the Qualicum Falls river rescue on Dec. 12, 2020, for a United Kingdom television program “Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’. (Mandy Moraes photo)
TV show spreading news of daring B.C. river rescue across the world

Arrowsmith SAR trio share their accounts for ‘Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’

Shane Ertmoed’s application for Escorted Temporary Absences was granted following a hearing May 4, 2021. (File photo)
B.C. child-killer an ‘average’ risk to sexually reoffend: Parole Board

Written reasons behind approval of Shane Ertmoed’s request for escorted absences shared

Most Read