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Opening comments: More at the end.
Interesting how his boss really makes sure he is not in town when the heat was coming down - "Rykhoff booked off sick to go to Halifax with friends for a college football game."
Lots more to this story here.
Torstar Network - Feb. 5, 2009 - By
Officer was framed, defence argues
A Peel Regional Police constable on trial for drug offences was set up by a superior officer at the scene, a defence lawyer suggested yesterday.
Sheldon Cook, 40, was surprised when his shift ended Nov. 17, 2005, to discover a box in his cruiser's trunk containing cocaine bricks from a seizure earlier that night in Mississauga, lawyer Pat Ducharme told a Brampton court.
Cook has pleaded not guilty to seven criminal charges.
He was arrested when 15 bricks from a missing shipment of fake cocaine being tracked by the RCMP were found at his Cambridge home, two days after 102 bricks turned up in a courier delivery truck on Nov. 16, 2005.
Peel police Det. Marty Rykhoff, a Crown witness, was the officer who put what he thought was real cocaine into Cook's trunk, Ducharme suggested in cross-examination.
"I suggest you had a plan for Cook to take the fall once you realized this was a controlled delivery and the RCMP would discover drugs were missing," Ducharme said.
"There was no plan," Rykhoff answered. The 24-year veteran denied stealing the drugs as well as dozens of other accusations during his two days on the stand. He denied telling Cook to "secure" the box and that he would pick it up the following day.
Ducharme never suggested why Rykhoff took the fake drugs, only that he did.
RCMP investigators used a GPS beacon hidden amongst the fake cocaine to find the 15 bricks cached in a Sea-Doo at Cook's home.
They also uncovered marijuana and MP3 players allegedly taken from an unrelated investigation.
The cocaine, hidden in a shipment of mangoes, turned out to be white flour, part of a RCMP controlled delivery from Peru to Canada that had gone missing 12 hours earlier after arriving at Mississauga's Pearson International Airport.
Ducharme suggested Cook took the box home and secured it in the belief that his immediate boss would pick it up the next day.
Instead, Rykhoff booked off sick to go to Halifax with friends for a college football game. He was later docked five days pay.
More than 40 bricks from the courier truck vanished after the Peel police seizure. Only the 15 in Cook's garage were recovered.
Several empty packages were later found in a dumpster near Rykhoff's home. He denied dumping them there once he realized the drugs they had seized were fake.
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