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B.C. judge sentences two men who attacked RCMP officer to house arrest

Mountie attackers sentenced to house arrest

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Two men who attacked a Mountie during a traffic stop and left him unconscious on the side of a rural road near Pritchard, B.C., won't be going to jail.

Despite calling Leon Leclerc and Jerry Lamar "cowardly bullies flexing their muscles as back-alley thugs," B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley placed both men on house arrest Friday.

A vehicle being driven by Lamar, 52, was stopped by RCMP Const. Paul Koester on July 5, 2014.

Court heard Koester suspected Lamar had been drinking and launched an impaired driving investigation.

Dash-cam footage of their exchange was played in court and it showed Lamar becoming increasingly aggressive.

Leclerc, 47, was a passenger in Lamar's truck and could be seen in the video menacing Koester from a distance.

Lamar eventually tried to leave, at which point Koester deployed pepper spray and the two men began fighting on the ground.

Leclerc jumped into the altercation and stomped on Koester's head, causing the officer to lose consciousness.

Lamar and Leclerc drove off and about 20 seconds later, Koester began moaning. Eventually a passerby stopped and tended to the injured Mountie.

The Crown had been seeking jail terms of up to 18 months.

The judge instead placed the men on restrictive house arrest terms, 18 months for Leclerc and 15 months for Lamar.

Lamar and Leclerc will also be barred from drinking or entering bars or liquor stores for four years, and both will be required to provide a sample of their DNA to a national criminal database.

Court heard Lamar, who lives in Pritchard, owns and operates a Kamloops masonry company while Leclerc owns two businesses and lives in a rural area near Falkland.

In 2005, Koester shot and killed Ian Bush in an RCMP detachment after arresting the 22-year-old outside a hockey rink in Houston, B.C.

Later inquiries cleared Koester and determined he was entitled to use lethal force given the circumstances of the situation.

Koester was in court on Friday for the sentencing hearing, flanked by four other RCMP officers.

(Kamloops This Week)

Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week, The Canadian Press