01/17/2013 01:46 EST | Updated 03/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Police Review Board justified to demote Stellarton, N.S., police chief: court

PICTOU, N.S. - The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled that the province's Police Review Board was justified to demote Stellarton's former police chief for discreditable conduct.

The Town of Stellarton sought the judicial review after the board concluded Ambrose Heighton should be demoted instead of being fired by the town council.

In 2008, Heighton was accused of discreditable conduct for writing and distributing an unsigned letter alleging that several RCMP officers with the Pictou detachment took part in sex parties and used drugs.

The Municipal Board of Police Commissioners found the complaint against Heighton credible and said he should be dismissed as police chief — a recommendation the town council implemented.

Heighton asked for a review of that decision and the Police Review Board concluded that the dismissal was unnecessary and instead he should be demoted one position in rank.

In a ruling released today, the Supreme Court said the Police Review Board's conclusion that it had the authority to change the penalty against Heighton was reasonable.