By Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A judge who on Thursday found a former police officer guilty of pointing a shotgun at his female colleague said his rationale for having the firearm nearby did not make sense.
“Leroy Gold’s story is illogical,” Judge Murray Thompson from provincial court in Winnipeg said in his decision.
Gold was convicted of pointing a shotgun at Const. Danielle Prefontaine in 2016. The judge said the main issue in the case was credibility and he found Prefontaine’s testimony believable.
Prefontaine, a 14-year member of the force, testified she was in a room at police headquarters writing up a report about items recovered in a break-and-enter investigation. She said she was leaning back in her chair to stretch when Gold came into the room, put a shotgun to her rib cage and said, “I know what you need.”
Her partner, Const. Maxime Desjardins, told court that while he didn’t see it happen, he noticed Prefontaine looked distraught immediately after.
Gold, who is 42, testified that he never pointed a firearm at Prefontaine or anyone else.
He said he came over to see what Prefontaine was working on and made a joke about overtime. He admitted to holding a shotgun, but said he kept it by his side. The defence argued the joke made Prefontaine angry, so she made up the story.
Prefontaine’s testimony was emotional and showed signs of trauma, said the judge, who added it did not make sense that she would respond in such a way to a joke.
“She was well aware of the implications of reporting another police officer,” Thompson said.
Gold was acquitted on charges of uttering threats and of pointing a firearm in another alleged encounter with Prefontaine six months earlier.
Prefontaine told court she was in a parking garage at police headquarters in May 2016 when Gold walked up to her holding a shotgun in one hand. She said he raised it towards her body — only a few inches away — and said, “Boom, right in the crotch.”
She said she told Gold to never do that again.
“She believed she dealt with the incident herself when she rebuked him,” Thompson said.
Prefontaine reported the first encounter after Gold pointed the shotgun at her again at police headquarters.
The judge said he acquitted Gold in the earlier instance because the differences in what Prefontaine told her partner and supervisors were problematic.
Thompson said he believed her account, but the amount of time that had lapsed until she reported it left unexplained inconsistencies.
Gold was dismissed from the force in 2017.