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Sudbury officer arrested at children’s hockey game in Espanola given option to make amends

Constable Melisa Rancourt faces charges including resisting arrest, but is being allowed to enter a program that could see her get off with an apology
Espanola
Greater Sudbury Police constable Melisa Rancourt was arrested at a children's hockey game in Espanola on Sept. 26. (File)

Greater Sudbury Police constable Melisa Rancourt may be able to avoid having a criminal record after being charged for resisting arrest and trespassing, stemming from an incident at the Espanola Recreation Centre on Sept. 26.

Rancourt’s attorney made an appearance in Espanola provincial court briefly on her behalf on Dec. 6. Len Walker told the court his client has applied for and been approved to enter the Direct Accountability Program. 

The Direct Accountability program is run through the John Howard Society and is focused on giving adult offenders an opportunity to “make amends” for their wrongdoing rather than be convicted of a crime. Instead of typical judicial discipline, such as a criminal record, jail time and probation, the program allows a person to accept responsibility for their actions and make amends through an assigned task or “sanction,” meaning they may not have to return to court and would not have a criminal conviction registered.

The John Howard Society states sanctions may include, “Community Service Hours, restitution to the victim, donation to a charitable agency, a letter of apology, counselling/assessment referrals to community agencies, enter a peace bond, or attendance at our Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program/ Anger and Substance Awareness Program which explores substance use, its effects on the mind and body, the costs and benefits of substance use, the benefits of change and treatment options.”

In terms of Rancourt’s application, her attorney Walker, a former Crown attorney who now practices criminal law, asked for an adjournment to Jan. 10 to finish the application process, which was approved by the court.

Rancourt, a Greater Sudbury Police constable, has been assigned administrative duties while her case works its way through the court.

The charges stem from Rancourt’s arrest on Sept. 26 when she refused to provide proof of vaccination to attend her child’s hockey game at the Espanola Recreation Centre. Witness told Sudbury.com Rancourt yelled and screamed, called bystanders ‘nazis’ and kicked a door while aruging with an OPP officer called by rec centre staff after the GSPS officer refused to show proof of vaccination.

Rancourt was arrested and charged with resisting a peace officer, and entering a premises when entry has been prohibited, contrary to the Trespass to Property Act (TPA). Her partner, Dana Rancourt, was also charged with trespassing in regards to the same incidents. You can read more about that incident here.

Rancourt will be in court again on Jan. 10.