Charges have been laid against a former Calgary police officer following allegations he harassed a Calgary couple while on the job.
Police say the allegations stem from two separate incidents on July 9 and January 15.
They say Denis McHugh, 35, had been with the Calgary Police Service (CPS) eight years at the time of the alleged incidents.
WATCH BELOW: Acting Deputy Chief Ray Robitaille speaks to the charges against former officer Denis McHugh
“These are serious criminal charges—full stop,” CPS Acting Deputy Chief Ray Robitaille said Tuesday afternoon. “That a member in uniform is accused of these crimes is deeply concerning.”
“Any time that this type of behaviour surfaces, it’s a betrayal to all police officers and to the public.”
The CPS professional standards section launched the investigation after a man and woman came forward to police in January.
WATCH BELOW: Acting Deputy Chief Ray Robitaille speaks to the effects these kinds of charges have on the morale of Calgary police members
The woman alleged she was pulled over for a routine traffic offence in a parking lot in northwest Calgary on July 9. She was issued a ticket and her vehicle was towed.
Investigators said the officer offered to drive the woman home. She alleges the drive to her northeast home took three-and-a-half hours, during which time she was ‘unlawfully’ confined in a marked police cruiser.
Robitaille said there was no evidence to suggest McHugh knew the complainant prior to the traffic stop. He said the traffic tickets were for lack of insurance and licence.
When asked what happened during those hours in the police car, Robitaille said the details would be presented at court. He said it is not unusual for officers to drive people home in certain situations, depending on factors like location and weather.
The woman and her boyfriend approached police several months later on July 18, after she alleges McHugh pulled them over outside their home. She said she entered her home, but her boyfriend was told to stay in the vehicle. She told police McHugh entered the home without permission.
“There has to be a lawfulness to be in a home and the intent is also something that’s considered in laying that charge [of break and enter],” Robitaille said.
Police say the investigation also revealed that McHugh was accessing CPS computer databases to obtain information about the woman and her boyfriend between July 2015 and January 2016.
Denis McHugh has been charged with 11 offences, including:
- One count of kidnapping
- One count of obstruction of justice
- One Count of break and enter
- One count of breach of the peace
- Two counts of fraudulently obtaining a computer service
- Five counts of breach of trust
The Calgary Police Association has retained lawyer Alain Hepner to represent McHugh. He said his client surrendered himself to police Tuesday morning. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 29.
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to call the CPS professional standards section at 403-428-5904.
With files from Mia Sosiak