RCMP officer facing sex-crime charge to plead not guilty, lawyer says

An RCMP officer facing a sex-crime charge plans to fight the accusation and will plead not guilty, his lawyer says.

Cpl. Jeremy Bastarache was charged in June with "making an arrangement with a person, for the purpose of facilitating a sexual offence toward a person whom he believed to be under 16 years old," New Brunswick RCMP said in a June news release.

The case returned to Moncton provincial court Wednesday, where defence lawyer Nathan Gorham asked for an adjournment while waiting for disclosure of the Crown's evidence.

Judge Luc Labonté was told that disclosure should be made in September or October. Labonté agreed to have the case return to court Sept. 5.

Bastarache was not present in court. He was released on conditions after a previous court appearance.

Gorham told reporters outside the courthouse that his client intends to plead not guilty.

"He's looking forward to having his day in court and to having the Crown and the court consider his account of the events and his side of the story on things, and he's anxious for the process to unfold," he said.

Officer suspended with pay

The RCMP's June news release said the force had referred the investigation to the Serious Incident Response Team after learning of the allegations.

SIRT investigates matters that involve death, serious injury, sexual assault and intimate partner violence, or other matters of public interest, that may have arisen from the actions of a police officer.

The charge was laid June 10, the release said, and the alleged offence happened "at or near Shediac" between April 24 and 29.

Erin Nauss, SIRT's director, previously told CBC News that Bastarache worked at Codiac Regional RCMP at the time of the alleged offence, but now works outside New Brunswick. The RCMP has said Bastarache has been suspended with pay.

If convicted, he could face between six months and two years in jail.