Nova ScotiaNova Scotia news
Updated: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 22:15:30 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

RCMP officer guilty of drunk driving gets curative discharge



RCMP officer guilty of drunk driving gets curative discharge

An RCMP officer who admitted to driving drunk has received probation due to the special circumstances surrounding the case.

RCMP Sgt. Werner Sawatzky was arrested in January after an accident with more than double the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.

Sawatzky, who has more than 20 years in the service, was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle when he rear-ended a charter bus parked outside of the RCMP detachment in Lower Sackville where he worked.

His vehicle suffered extensive damage.

Police responding to the accident smelled alcohol and demanded a breath sample. He blew 0.19, more than double the legal limit of 0.08.

Sawatzky's lawyer David Bright told the court that his client has been diagnosed as an alcoholic, a direct result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — the disorder, a direct result of the high stress of his job.

Bright told the court that Sawatzky realized the crash was the final straw and he checked himself into a treatment facility in Ontario.

On Thursday, Sawatzky was granted a curative discharge that would have him undergo a period of probation and treatment for alcoholism instead of potentially doing jail time.

If Sawatzky abides by the terms of the two-year probation, abstains from alcohol and continues his counselling, he won't have a criminal record.

Sawatzky is also under a one-year driving ban and has been placed on administrative duties.

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