Fraud charges laid against an RCMP officer and his wife have been stayed as prosecutors say there is no reasonable chance of securing a conviction.
Curtis Ping and wife Darlene were each charged in the summer of 2020. At the time, RCMP said Cpl Ping was charged with two counts of fraud and breach of trust by a public officer.
Darlene Ping was said by police to have been charged with two counts of fraud, falsification of records or books, and falsification of employment records with intent to deceive.
The charges related to the Pings’ time in Fort Liard.
Police opened an internal RCMP code of conduct investigation and suspended Cpl Ping with pay.
Earlier this year, prosecution of the Pings was moved from the NWT to Alberta, the CBC reported, to avoid a conflict arising from the close relationship between RCMP and the prosecution service in the territory.
On Friday, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said a stay of proceedings had been entered.
“In the matter involving Curtis and Darlene Ping, following the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry and a careful review of the file, the Crown was no longer satisfied that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction,” spokesperson Nathalie Houle wrote.
No further explanation was given.
A stay of proceedings ordinarily means charges are effectively considered dropped, although the Crown has one year to reconsider.
Attempts to reach the Pings were not immediately successful.
In an unsigned response provided after this article was first published, NWT RCMP wrote: “The RCMP respects and understands the decision brought forth by Public Prosecution as they have guidelines to follow to ensure in this case, as with other cases, that there is a reasonable prospect for conviction.
“The NT RCMP remains confident in the fact that a thorough, detailed investigation was completed in this file, resulting in a complete disclosure/evidence being forwarded to Public Prosecution to move forward with the initial charges and preliminary inquiry.
“Although this will result in the conclusion of the criminal aspect of the file, Mr Ping still faces the code of conduct process that is specific to the RCMP.”