Today the CBC did a story on two people that were beaten by police to the point of having to go to hospital with one man tasered in the face. It was a mistaken raid at the wrong address.
At the end of several years they have legal bills of over $60,000 and the officer was never formally charged or fired, and still has his job.
Officer broke the law
One of the officers, Const. Jordan Gilbert, was later sanctioned for illegal entry and assault, after a decision by a police complaint review board. But he was never criminally charged and he kept his job.
The Bishops, who had never been in trouble with the law before, said they are left with $66,000 in legal costs, which the municipality refuses to cover.
“They came into the house without a warrant. They came into the house with absolutely no right to. And we are left to pay for that,” said Cirbie Bishop, an insurance claims representative.
When the officers got no answer at the front door, they entered anyway, then went upstairs and pounded on the bedroom door, ordering anyone who didn’t live there to leave.
“They were just screaming and yelling and swearing and forcing people out of the house,” Cirbie Bishop said, as everyone scrambled. “We had no idea we were there doing anything wrong. We just had a private party.”
The officer eventually was suspended for two weeks and fined $1000.00 while one of the victims lost their job.
More disturbing is the abuse and secrecy involving Crown Attorney’s. Complaints are rarely if ever made public.
In a piece about a Crown that was convicted, John Raftery, LINK what was most disturbing to this writer was the following paragraph.
Law society spokesperson Roy Thomas said all complaints are investigated, but only those allegations that result in a disciplinary hearing are reported publicly. Any complaints that are dismissed or resolved internally are kept secret.
Several lawyers said many complaints against Crown attorneys lodged with the law society are dealt with internally, meaning the public less frequently hears about them.
Police and Crown Attorney’s essentially get to play God with the Public. They choose to press a complaint within their discretion. For example we had a case where a local City Councilor attempted to destroy protest signs at a Council meeting. Those signs were damaged and hidden in the mayor’s office for nearly a week before being returned.
In spite of multiple witnesses police and the local Crown declined to pursue a charge. The other side of the knife is that cases can be pursued and sometimes for less than criminal reasons.
Here in Ontario many law enforcement agencies are quick to publish unconvicted crimes in police blotters including names which can impact people’s lives. The threshold is set purely by the officers and Crown Attorneys, and can lead to thousands of dollars in legal bills and life devastation.
There was a case in Cornwall where a senior, a few weeks away from having open heart surgery, was being physically assaulted by his younger spouse while the couple were preparing dinner. He called police frantically for assistance; but when police arrived he ended up being charged.
Not only that he could not return to his home except with police escort to get his personal belongings. He essentially was couch surfing with relatives during his surgery and recovery not knowing the outcome and having spend eventually over $10,000 in legal bills.
After several months the truth wheedled its way through the system, but at what cost to the victim and of what cost to the public purse?
It’s nearly impossible to get a crown attorney fired or reprimanded. Many judges are political appointees as well. The only remedies for the average citizen are costly and brutally time consuming with resolution taking years while the damage continues. For the few that are compensated financially the life damage can never be repaired.
The public trust in our police and justice system is critical for it to properly function. There are unbelievable challenges for officers and attorneys in their practice and sadly the few cases the shine darkly hurt the whole system which is why it’s so important for them to proactively police their own behaviors and work with the public to censure those that cross the lines.
Is that justice?
Do you have a horror story with the justice system; especially here in Eastern Ontario? Email yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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