Five Peel Regional Police officers are the subject of an internal investigation by the force after a Superior court judge ruled they lied under oath as part of a cover-up following a 2009 drug sting in Mississauga.
“The police lied under oath in order to cover up (an) illegal search and persisted in their lying when confronted with the most damning of evidence. All these misdeeds were calculated, deliberate and utterly avoidable,” Superior Court Justice Deena Baltman said Friday after one of the two men charged pleaded guilty. “The police showed contempt, not just for the basic rights of every accused, but for the sanctity of a courtroom.”
Baltman called the conduct of the officers “reprehensible.”
In September 2009, Peel police officers charged two Mississauga men with several drug-related offences. A preliminary hearing into the matter was held before Baltman in Brampton.
Last Sept. 27, Baltman delivered a ruling that "brought into question evidence given during the preliminary hearing by five members of our service," Peel Police Chief Mike Metcalf said.
The contents of the ruling were subject to a court-imposed publication ban.
Upon learning of Baltman’s comments, Metcalf immediately ordered an internal investigation by the Professional Standards Bureau.
On Friday, one of the accused, 28-year-old Tan-Hung Dinh, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. At that point, the publication ban was lifted.
Charges against the second man, Phuoc Nguyen, were stayed.
“The men and women of Peel Regional Police are committed to providing professional and ethical service to citizens," Metcalf said. "It is paramount that we maintain the confidence of the community that we serve. Allegations made against members of this service are taken seriously and will be investigated thoroughly.”
The officers involved will remain on active duty pending the completion of the investigation.
Meanwhile, defence lawyer Leora Shemesh says previous judicial findings of misconduct by Peel police have been ignored and she doubts this case will be different.
“Since last September, Internal Affairs has had a formal finding from a Superior Court judge who concluded the officers’ conduct was reprehensible and should be addressed,” Shemesh said.
“Nothing has happened. No charges have been laid and internal affairs appears to be asleep at the wheel.”
Shemesh represented Tan-Hung Dinh. On Friday, the 28-year-old avoided doing prison time after Baltman found Peel officers beat him, searched his home illegally and then came to court and lied about it.
Baltman cited police misconduct as the reason for excluding all evidence seized from Dinh’s home, including two kilograms of cocaine and 2,000 grams of ecstasy.
The officers involved “essentially colluded and then committed perjury, en masse. This must be addressed in a concrete way,” she wrote in her 38-page decision.
Baltman said she deviated from a prison sentence of five to eight years — typical for major drug trafficking convictions — because of the “serious police misconduct involved.”
She sentenced Dinh to a two-year conditional sentence, with the first half to be served under house arrest.
He admitted to brokering a cocaine deal on Sept. 9, 2009, when he met with Cst. Ian Dann, posing as a buyer, at a motel room in Mississauga.
Dann, along with officers Jason Hobson, Jay Kirkpatrick and Steve Roy, were inside the room. Other officers set up surveillance outside.
Dinh arrived in the parking lot, walked to the room and knocked on the door, where officers were waiting.
But when his drug trafficking charges got to court, Shemesh applied to have the charges stayed or evidence excluded. She alleged there were numerous violations of her client's rights during the arrest.
Last summer, the judge heard evidence, including the testimony of Dinh and the officers. Baltman found a “gross disparity” in their descriptions of what happened.
Dinh testified he was pulled into the room by several officers, pushed onto a bed and beaten.
The officers denied any undue force was used, nor did they observe any injuries to him.
Citing photographs of his injuries, and evidence of his doctor, the judge sided with Dinh, saying the officers could not explain the bruises in the photos.
“Police used unwarranted physical violence against a fully cooperative subject,” she wrote in her ruling.
Baltman added that, while she found it “impossible” to determine how the injuries were caused and by whom, she was satisfied that one of more of the officers “deliberately and unnecessarily injured Mr. Dinh.”
During the preliminary hearing, the judge excluded the drugs found in the residence. But, she did rule the cocaine police obtained from Dinh's vehicle was admissible as evidence, so he went to trial.
Comments by others, 4, to this web-page;
NotReally Feb 15, 2012 7:30 PM
I need my head checked as I agree with Mantis
Yep, you heard it right. Five-years locked up with 1 day off for the beating.
Markyg Feb 15, 2012 1:03 AM
Why bother with courts? Might as well let the police administer "'justice'' on the spot, save a lot of time and money. Human rights - who needs 'em? Just look how well China and Iran are doing without them!
Mantis Feb 14, 2012 10:01 PM
As far as I'm concerned this scumbag got what he had coming to him for selling poison on our streets.
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srfnglf Feb 14, 2012 8:48 PM
Funny how some low life drug dealer whose ruined countless lives with the crap he's selling on our streets is all up in arms because he got a taste of his own medicine. Look what was found on him "...... seized from Dinh’s home, including two kilograms of cocaine and 2,000 grams of ecstasy." And the police are the bad guys here and he's the victim? Only in Canada!!!
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