VANCOUVER Police Constable Deepak Kumar Sood received a suspended sentence in Provincial Court on April 25 for uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm to Coquitlam furniture store owner Gert Knudsen.
That leaves Sood with a criminal record. The defence had called for a conditional instead of a suspended sentence, but Judge Thomas Woods presented a number of reasons to reject the defence’s arguments.
The judge noted: “I do so having given due regard to both the mitigating and aggravating circumstances that have been identified to me and to which I am permitted to give regard. I do so believing that to suspend the passing of sentence upon you will contribute to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just and peaceful society. I do so believing that that disposition is proportionate to the gravity of the offence you committed and that it properly reflects the considerable moral blameworthiness you bear for threatening to cause death or bodily harm to Mr. Knudsen in circumstances where you also invoked your powers and authority as a police officer for a collateral and improper purpose.”
According to provincial court documents, Sood purchased a number of items of furniture including a dresser from a furniture retailer M&M in November 2017 for his son. Due to a misunderstanding between Sood and M&M as to whose responsibility it was to anchor the dresser to an adjacent wall to stabilize it and safeguard it against tipping, no anchoring mechanism was installed at the time of delivery. Some weeks later, on January 2018, with all six of its drawers having been pulled open, the dresser tipped forward at a 45-degree angle and one of the drawers came to rest on Sood’s four-year-old son’s foot, pinning him in place and causing him great upset, though no serious harm.
Sood made telephone calls to M&M, insisting that it send one of its delivery trucks to his home that day (a Saturday) to take the dresser back to the store. Inquiries conducted by M&M representatives determined that the first day that the return could be done was the following Monday. Sood himself admitted that he could have made as many as 25 calls as he pressed M&M representatives for same-day pick-up of the dresser. Among other things, over the course of a tirade that went on for a period of hours, Sood threatened to bring the dresser back down to the M&M store and throw it through its front window. He also threatened to “bash [Knudsen’s] f–king head in.” When Mr. Knudsen cautioned him that he would have to call the police if such threats were to continue, Sood replied by identifying himself as a policeman, stating “Don’t bother, I am the f–king police.”
Among the points that Knudsen made in his Victim Impact Statement was that he had been left by the incident with lingering concerns that having become involved in an adversarial encounter with a police officer might give rise to unwarranted trouble for him and his business in their future dealings with law enforcement:
“… Confirmation that he was an officer caused me further anxiety, as my imagination ran while [sic] with how Mr. Sood may use his influence and potential connections with law-enforcement; To that end, I had a nightmare where Mr. Sood was coming to make good on his threats. Despite knowing that I have been honest about the incident, it seems possible that colleagues and friends of Mr. Sood may believe him over me. While I have faith in the legal system and the many good officers in law enforcement, Mr. Sood’s behaviour has left room for doubt and has impacted my overall sense of safety and security.”
Woods noted that Sood joined the Vancouver Police Department in 2009 at the age of 25. He has an unblemished workplace record as a member of the Vancouver Police Department. He has been given increasingly responsible positions and assignments there, some involving secondments to the RCMP. Since 2018 he has been part of the Beat Enforcement Team in the Downtown Eastside where, as is generally known, the challenges are extraordinary and call for a particularly sensitive and empathetic kind of police work. To all accounts, Sood has performed that difficult work in an exemplary way, the judge pointed out.
The judge imposed nine terms in his order of probation during the 12-month period while the passing of sentence will stand suspended. These include completing such counselling as his probation officer directs to the latter’s satisfaction and may include, but is not limited to, anger management counselling; and completion of 30 hours of community work service not later than the end of the sixth month of his probationary period to the satisfaction of his probation officer.
Read the full judgment at: