Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Threatening texts were just 'venting': Mountie

Upset over romance, constable tells trial

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He made a series of comments that wouldn't have been out of place in a typical Hollywood gangster flick.

But Manitoba RCMP Const. David Obirek insists he was just blowing off some steam when sending a series of text messages that have now put him on trial and his career on the line.

Obirek, 44, took the witness stand in his own defence Monday at an unusual uttering-threats trial where the victim is a fellow Mountie who dated -- and eventually married -- his former girlfriend.

"I had zero intention of anything. I was upset. I was frustrated, I was venting. I had no desire to go beyond those conversations," Obirek told court.

Obirek doesn't deny sending the texts to his ex-wife in August 2011 in which he spoke of wanting Const. Landon Durston dead.

'He's a piece of (expletive) and his days are numbered. I have a few people working on taking him out," Obirek wrote in one message.

"I've got somebody who's been following him and will take him out on my command. I've got a hit on him. He has no clue that he's being watched," he said in another.

Obirek said Monday he was angry because Durston had started dating his ex-girlfriend, a civilian member of the RCMP, and believed the couple was shutting him out of seeing his young son.

"I was very disheartened over the situation. I was having a conversation with someone I trusted, who I thought was on the same page as me," said Obirek.

His frustration only mounted when he learned his son, about to turn four, was going around telling other people that "I shot my daddy in the head, I have a new daddy now."

"I was very hurt by those words. I sort of assumed I was being removed from his life, being replaced," said Obirek.

Durston would later marry Obirek's ex-girlfriend, who moved west with him last summer because of ongoing safety concerns. Durston testified last month he was stunned when Obirek's ex-wife contacted him to convey the messages she had received.

He immediately phoned Winnipeg police, who began an investigation. And the RCMP quickly conducted a risk assessment.

"They decided to install a panic alarm in our home and gave me permission to take my firearm home every day after work," said Durston, who was working in special operations at the RCMP D Division headquarters at the time.

Eventually, the RCMP agreed to his request for an out-of-province transfer because he and his wife continued to live in fear. The woman had previously obtained a protection order against Obirek in October 2010 -- nearly a year before the texts surfaced.

Durston said he took Obirek's words very seriously given what he knew about the accused through the woman.

Obirek has been suspended with pay since his arrest.

"I had zero clue what was going on when I was arrested. In my mind, I hadn't threatened anyone," Obirek said Monday.

The trial is scheduled to resume later this month with closing arguments. Defence lawyer Bruce Bonney plans to argue his client didn't intend to cause any fear and shouldn't be found guilty, especially since the alleged victim of the threats only received them through a third party.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 18, 2014 A4

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