A Nelson courtroom heard the trial Thursday of an RCMP officer accused of fraud.

Ex-New Denver Mountie stands trial

A former Slocan Lake RCMP officer accused of falsifying an expense claim told a Nelson courtroom Thursday she made a simple mistake.

A former Slocan Lake RCMP officer accused of falsifying an expense claim told a Nelson courtroom Thursday she made a simple mistake.

Cst. Kelly Barrie, 32, was charged with fraud and false pretenses after submitting a claim for $125 with a largely blacked-out hotel receipt attached.

Barrie said she believed she was entitled to reimbursement while in Kelowna for a medical appointment — but didn’t want her superiors to know she stayed in the same room as her fiancé, Cst. Sam Nakatsu, who was under a court order to keep away from her at the time.

However, the receipt aroused suspicions when a supervisor discovered Nakatsu submitted an expense claim for the same night, November 24, 2010. The hotel registration was under his name and paid for with his credit card.

The Crown claimed Barrie willfully deceived her employer with a bogus claim, but the defence countered that Barrie and Nakatsu commonly shared expenses, and she mistakenly believed he filed his claim for a different day. She blacked out portions of the receipt she considered irrelevant, including Nakatsu’s name, she said.

Her claim was never paid, although she was reimbursed for two subsequent stays in Kelowna.

Barrie and Nakatsu were in a relationship for most of 2010, but things got rocky in the latter half of that year, she testified.

While details were not revealed in court, on November 10 police were called to their home in New Denver due to a domestic dispute and Nakatsu was arrested. He was released the same evening on conditions not to contact Barrie, but never actually charged.

Two weeks later the officers, both on stress leave, met in Kelowna where each had a medical appointment. They went out for dinner and stayed in the same hotel room, despite the no-contact order. (Nakatsu faces a separate trial next month for the alleged breach.)

Crown prosecutor Kevin Fotty explained the count of false pretenses relates to Barrie requesting a receipt from the hotel even though it was in Nakatsu’s name. Fotty alleged Barrie referred to herself as Nakatsu’s wife to obtain it, but Barrie denied trying to mislead hotel staff, and noted her email address was on the account.

Defence lawyer Richard Hewson suggested RCMP policy over expense claims is vague and confusion over dates accounted for the trouble: Nakatsu’s conditions aside, had the officers submitted expense claims for different days, there would have been no issue, he said.

“Did you think you were doing anything wrong or dishonourable?” Hewson asked.

“Absolutely not,” Barrie replied.

She said she has blacked out irrelevant data from expense claims before without issue, but Sgt. Darryl Little, who reviewed the forms, didn’t see it that way.

“The areas blacked out were a concern,” he testified. “It struck me as very unusual. Highly suspicious.”

Hewson, however, said it did not betray a guilty conscience.

“If she was conscious of being guilty of anything, it was being party to Cst. Nakatsu breaching his bail order,” he said.

He further argued there was no intent to defraud: “She put the wrong date on a form … It’s a clerical error. A mistake.”

Fotty, however, disagreed: “I would say it has deceit and falsehood written all over it.”

Judge Ron Fabbro asked if Barrie was obliged to make more inquiries before filing her claim, but Hewson noted that contacting Nakatsu would have resulted in a further breach of his conditions.

Little was the only witness to testify for the Crown, while the defence called Barrie and Nakatsu.

Barrie, who joined the RCMP in 2004, worked in the Kootenays from 2009 until 2011, first at the Slocan Lake detachment in New Denver, and then briefly in Castlegar.

Nakatsu worked in Nakusp. Both have since transferred to Williams Lake. Although no longer engaged, Nakatsu said they remain “close friends.”

The one-day trial concluded Thursday afternoon. The judge will set a date next Wednesday to deliver his verdict.

Just Posted

Speakers to discuss Site C project- and how to stop it

Finding parallels between massive northern hydro project and the Arrow Lakes flooding

Consult before creating Fauquier reserve: CCT

Sinixt seek consultation before Westbank reserve gets go-ahead

In historic Sandon, clearing roofs just part of winter

Sandon roofs can take a lot, but need maintenance

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

Nakusp vets leaving after 30 years

Practice has been sold and new owners will take over in a month

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

VIDEO: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read