A Windsor police constable pleaded guilty in Ontario court Wednesday to theft for stealing $425 from an undercover RCMP officer during a sting operation.
Traffic cop Michael Stephen Shannon, 40, was arrested Oct. 4, 2007, after taking the bait during an orchestrated vehicle stop.
Court was told Shannon was on his motorcycle and stopped a vehicle in the 1100 block of Ouellette Avenue just before 9 p.m. During a search of a duffel bag in the vehicle, Shannon took $425, the serial numbers of which had been previously recorded by police.
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Windsor Police Const. Mike Shannon shown here in an Oct. 9, 2006 photo.
File photo, The Windsor Star
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Font:****Despite finding a crack pipe in a cup holder and being told by the driver he had been in trouble with the law before over marijuana, Shannon gave the man "a break," and sent him on his way with no charges or ticket, according to a statement agreed to by the prosecution and defence and read aloud in court Wednesday.
A few minutes after the traffic stop, Shannon was arrested for theft and breach of trust.
Court was told police were acting on "previously received information that could not be verified" when they set up Shannon and used an out-of town RCMP officer Shannon wouldn't recognize as the driver.
When asked by the arresting officers why he had taken the money, Shannon said, "Because I'm stupid." En route to the police station, he told the officers escorting him that he had a "problem" and "was afraid to ask for help."
Outside the courtroom Wednesday, defence lawyer Andrew Bradie said Shannon has a drug addiction. "He found himself in difficulty with drugs and it led him to make some very bad decisions," Bradie said.
Shannon pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000. The breach of trust charge is still outstanding and is the subject of "legal arguments," Bradie said.
It will be discussed at Shannon's next court date Oct. 9 when he is to be sentenced.
Crown prosecutor David Foulds said he and Bradie have "no agreement on sentencing."
Whether Shannon goes to jail is pivotal to his livelihood. Shannon, who, according to provincial regulations continues to collect his police salary while under suspension despite his guilty plea, will stop being paid if he is sentenced to jail, said Windsor police Insp. Dave Rossell.
"He continues to be under suspension with pay," said Rossell. Rossell said he recognizes that the concept of paying an officer who has been convicted of a crime is offensive to public, but, "there is nothing we can do about it."
Shannon is to appear before a Police Services Act hearing today on charges of discreditable conduct and corrupt practice. Rossell said the case will likely be adjourned until after Shannon is sentenced on the criminal charges.
Rossell said now that Shannon has a criminal conviction, he may face additional charges under the Police Services Act.
In criminal court, Shannon entered his guilty plea before visiting judge Don Downie. Foulds is counsel for the west regional directorate of the Ministry of the Attorney General and was brought in from London to prosecute Shannon's case.
At the time of his arrest, Shannon had been a Windsor police officer for 15 years
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