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Friday, March 18, 2011

Hudson police chief’s records challenged in former captain’s theft trial

NASHUA – For the second straight day, Hudson Police Chief Jason Lavoie’s collection of evidence in the theft trial of his former captain came under fire by the defense.

Attorney Eric Wilson essentially asked Lavoie why former police Capt. Donald Breault would try to cheat the town of Hudson by filing fictitious pay and comp-time requests, when just years earlier, he had accumulated 53 hours of overtime and didn’t try to seek compensation.

Thursday’s cross-examination of Lavoie followed testimony from the previous day in which the chief acknowledged that at least six of the work hours that Breault allegedly fudged possibly could have been worked by the former captain.

Wilson suggested Thursday that if the overtime hours that Breault didn’t seek compensation for were placed on a scale with the hours he allegedly manipulated, then “they cancel out.” He added: “You could say it’s more likely than not that he’s owed hours.”

Lavoie responded: “That’s possible, yes.”

But Lavoie stood by the records he used to review Breault’s work hours and requests for pay or unpaid comp time before he forwarded the paperwork to the attorney general.

Breault faces a felony theft charge that he stole more than $1,000 by tampering with work hours in the police department’s internal computer program. Prosecutors and Lavoie allege that Breault profited more than $2,600 by manipulating and falsifying the hours, for which he also faces 10 misdemeanor computer crimes.

Wilson contends that Breault didn’t commit any crimes but filed comp- time weeks after the fact because the department didn’t have a set policy, and that he worked the time that he had recorded.

Assistant Attorney General James Vara followed up on direct examination so that Lavoie could elaborate on answers he gave Wednesday in cross examination. Police Capt. William Avery also testified Thursday. With the state court system closed today for a furlough day, the trial will resume Monday.

Albert McKeon can be reached at 594-5832 or amckeon@nashuatelegraph.com.