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6/8/2007
Canada: Charges Reduced in Photo Radar Bribery Trial
Two Edmonton, Canada cops face reduced charges in relation to the ACS bribery scandal.

Edmonton Police Service
Two Edmonton, Canada police officers have had criminal charges against them reduced in relation to their alleged conduct in securing a lucrative photo radar contract for Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). Prosecutors could not gather sufficient evidence to press bribery charges against Staff Sergeant Kerry Nisbet, 51, and Detective Thomas Bell, 49. Instead, a judge will decide on September 24 whether the pair will stand trial for breach of trust, and Bell for submitting fraudulent documents.

The evidence showed that on at least one occasion, ACS sent a blonde female employee to drive the officers to an Edmonton Oiler hockey game in a Mercedes-Benz automobile. The hockey tickets had a face value of $147.50 each. The pair also received a lavish, all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas that included perks such as the use of Harley Davidson motorcycles while there.

ACS also sent the pair on trips to places like Toronto and Phoenix -- even flying Nisbet's son to Arizona to attend a baseball game. Former Deputy Police Chief Darryl da Costa narrowly escaped internal punishment for violating ethics rules in taking free hockey tickets and meals. The statute of limitations had expired by the time the allegations surfaced.

In return for this lavish treatment, Bell on March 1, 2004 issued a memo stating that ACS was the only company that could do the job for Edmonton. The city council later approved the $90 million no-bid contract, and the company still runs photo ticketing operations for Edmonton.

ACS faces a four-week preliminary hearing on September 19. Bell and Nisbet could be imprisoned for five years for each charge if found guilty.

Source: Bribe-charge cops must wait until fall to hear fate (Edmonton Sun (Canada), 6/8/2007)

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