An ex-Mountie who claimed to be in hospital with a severe illness the day of his sentencing hearing on fraud and harassment charges was arrested last week after the province’s police watchdog learned he had allegedly tried to obtain a passport.
Aaron Lee Sayler, a former RCMP member who served in Stony Plain, was arrested in Edmonton Thursday after Alberta police watchdog members came to believe he was going to breach his bail conditions, said Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) executive director Susan Hughson.
The 33-year-old was in an Edmonton courtroom Monday on new charges of making a false statement in relation to a passport, fraud under $5,000, attempting to obstruct justice and failure to comply with court-ordered conditions. A judge revoked Sayler’s bail and denied bail on the new charges.
Sayler had been forced to surrender his passport as part of earlier bail conditions. According to allegations in court documents, Sayler claimed sometime around Oct. 1, 2018, that he had lost his passport, then attempted to obtain a new one at some point between that date and Feb. 3 of this year.
The court documents further allege he attempted to “obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice … by fraudulently obtaining a passport.” He is scheduled to appear by CCTV on Thursday in Grande Prairie, where the judge who presided over his sentencing is currently sitting.
Sayler was convicted of 10 offences last September, including fraud and criminal harassment of women with whom he had previous romantic relationships. The offences took place between 2012 and 2016, when Sayler was an RCMP officer. He resigned from the force in 2016.
The court found Sayler defrauded the RCMP of over $5,000 in benefits to which he was not entitled related to his transfer between the Slave Lake and Stony Plain detachments.
He also pleaded guilty to mischief, for throwing eggs covered in glitter and scrawled with sexist words at an ex-girlfriend’s house on three different occasions.
Court also heard Sayler slashed the tire of a vehicle belonging to a woman who later obtained a restraining order against him.
Sayler was scheduled to appear in Stony Plain provincial court on Feb. 1 for a sentencing hearing. But just before court, defence lawyer Darin Sprake rose and said Sayler had texted him the night before, saying he had been quarantined in hospital in Two Hills with a “chest bronchial infection.”
Sprake later spoke on the phone with a person who said they were the doctor who admitted Sayler to hospital.
Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou told Judge M.B. Golden she was “suspicious” about the sudden illness and sought confirmation from the court clerk that Sayler had surrendered his passport.
Papadatou said she is seeking a jail sentence “at the high end of the provincial range” of two years less a day. The defence argued for a 19-month community sentence followed by two years of probation.
—with files from Paige Parsons
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