Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative
A police officer from St. Clair Township is guilty of assault and uttering threats against his ex-wife in a case the judge called “particularly troubling.”
Darcy Lunn, an officer with the Chatham-Kent Police Service – pled guilty to the charges via video conference Thursday and was handed a suspended sentence of three years probation by Justice Deborah J. Austin, the maximum period that a probation order can last in Ontario.
The charges stem abuse against his then wife in 2015. Crown Attorney Nila Mulpuru says there was an argument between Lunn and his wife at their home in early 2015. Lunn raised a fist threatening to strike his wife. Their son attempted to stand between his parents, and Lunn shoved his wife up against a wall. The assault took place at the couple’s home in St. Clair Township. Lunn also plead guilty to uttering threats to cause bodily harm on a phone call to his wife’s workplace in Sarnia.
“This conduct by Mr. Lunn has clearly had a significant impact… and it reflects what we know to be the case that domestic abuse has a harm that is longstanding,” Judge Austin said in passing the sentence.
“It is an aggravating factor here that Mr. Lunn was an experienced and respected police officer working in that capacity with all the trust that society gives a police officer, and also the heightened awareness, training and responsibility that police officers have to understand and assist victims of domestic violence. So, it is particularly troubling that Mr. Lunn would have been a perpetrator of domestic violence in his own home.
“Generally this offence has a ripple effect by affecting public confidence, not only in Mr. Lunn as a police officer himself, but also has an impact on public respect and trust in police more generally. That is also unfortunate,” Judge Austin said.
Lunn’s ex-wife told the court about the impact the abuse had on her life and her son’s life.
“My sleep is affected every night as I think about all of the physical and mental abuse from Darcy. The way he would stare at me… to tell me to fear him and that he is in control over me. I have nightmares as well as night terrors. I struggle daily with feeling weak, stupid, ugly, unsure of who I am, and sad that I can’t stop the abuse inflicted on both me and [my son],” she read. “My son should not have had to defend me from the physical abuse of her husband and his father Darcy.”
Both mother and son have sought counseling for the trauma.
The Crown and defence submitted the recommended sentence as a joint submission, which Judge Austin agreed to. “What is of course highly aggravating here is the fact that all these are offences involving domestic violence over a long period of time… and that a young adolescence, their son, was involved,” the Crown said in determining how they arrived at the sentence. “His actions… were in direct contradiction with the fundamental principles of his position as an officer.”
The defence meanwhile noted how Lunn had no prior criminal convictions, and had a history of commendation with the Chatham-Kent Police.
Lunn can have no contact with either his ex-wife or son. He will also be barred from operating a weapon outside of his employment with the Chatham-Kent Police.
Lunn will also have to undergo counseling for anger management .
Lunn, now 46, has worked for the Chatham-Kent Police since 1999. He was suspended late last year after his ex-wife brought charges forward to the Ontario Provincial Police. He will now be facing a Police Services Act Disciplinary Hearing as to the future of his employment with the force.