Judge finds police officer guilty of lying about Surrey crash

Only one vehicle was involved in accident, despite James Baker's testimony another car hit his.

James Steven Baker was convicted in Abbotsford Provincial Court of lying to the Insurance Corporation of B.C. about a Surrey crash.

A driver who crashed his pickup truck in Cloverdale two years ago has been found guilty of lying to ICBC about the incident.

Abbotsford’s James Steven Baker, an RCMP constable in Surrey at the time of the crash, was charged with providing false or misleading information in relation to an accident claim with the insurer in December 2013.

According to an Abbotsford Provincial Court judgement on Tuesday (Oct. 27), Baker was driving his black Dodge Ram pickup on 64 Avenue at about 5:35 a.m. Dec. 10 when the incident occurred. While Baker claimed he was struck by another vehicle before he fishtailed into a ditch, the Crown argued the crash involved only his truck and resulted from Baker driving too fast for the winter road conditions.

Judge Kenneth Skilnick acknowledged there was one piece of evidence that “somewhat” corroborated Baker’s version: a video recording from the intersection of 64 Avenue and 168 Street showed a dark sedan following his vehicle through the intersection

However, the judge pointed to three other pieces of evidence that contradicted Baker’s story.

First, the driver of a City of Surrey salt truck witnessed the collision and was adamant there was no other vehicle involved. The city worker testified Baker’s truck passed him on a median on the left and lost control when he tried to merge back into the right lane.

Second, there was no damage to the left side of Bakers’s vehicle and the damage that did exist wasn’t consistent with being struck by a car cutting across its path from the left side, as the accused had suggested.

“Troubling,” said Skilnick, was that Baker failed to mention passing the city salt truck to an ICBC adjuster, despite testifying in court his truck slid behind and in front of the city vehicle after being hit by another car.

“…when the Accused gave the information that he gave to the ICBC adjuster, he knew that material portions of the statement were false,” said Skilnick in convicting Baker. “Specifically, he knew that there was no second vehicle which struck him and which was the cause of his accident.”

Baker’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20.