An OPP officer in the Sault Ste. Marie area has been charged with neglect of duty under the Police Services Act.
It is alleged that Police Constable Peter Van Den Diepstraten unlawfully entered a residence off Highway 563 in Fisher Township, north of Sault Ste. Marie.
The officer attended a residence in Batchewana Bay on November 12, 2019. The officer was there to present a subpoena to the occupant of the dwelling. However, according to court documents, the OPP officer erred in the execution.
Van Den Diepstraten when arriving at the location noticed foot prints in the snow and followed the prints around the house. He noticed a person crunched down in a room and decided to go to the front door and knocked with no answer. The Officer then noticed the second door was not locked and walked into the home.
The common law recognizes an implied license for all members of the public, including police officers, to approach the door of a residence and to knock. The complainant says that Van Den Diepstraten had walked the property before identifying himself and proceeded through the front door. The complainant said she did not answer the door due to the time of night and not sure who was at the door.
Van Den Diepstraten believed there was someone unlawfully in the dwelling. According to court documents, this is contrary to the sequence of events. A woman referred to as witness 1 contradicts the officer’s account. The officer said he had called on his portable radio for backup after walking the perimeter of the dwelling. However the witness, who’s evidence is backed up by a recording of the radio call said the opposite was true.