In today’s Toronto Star (page GT1), Tony Van Alphen reports that “A Durham Region police officer threatened to beat up a man and plant cocaine on him during a one-sided expletive-filled confrontation, a graphic video shows”. What is most disturbing about this incident is that, although the officer was disciplined for this egregious abuse of power, he is still working in the “front lines”, which means that, in the absence of video evidence, we don’t know whether he is continuing to do what defence lawyers have suspected some “rogue” cops do: plant evidence and otherwise abuse their power.
Furthermore, Durham Regional Police Force will not name this officer, which means that, when (not “if”) he testifies in court at a criminal trial, defence counsel for the accused will not know that this officer had previously admitted on video that he was prepared to falsely accuse a person, plant evidence on him, and lie under oath!
In defending an accused’s constitutional right to a fair trial, which includes the presumption of innocence, we are constantly faced with evidence that can sometimes only be tested through vigorous cross-examination. However, we need some ammunition if we are to successfully attack the credibility of a lying witness. Unfortunately, it is only when we have video evidence, or a brave police officer comes forward to report the “bad behaviour” of one of his fellow officers, that these abuses of power are uncovered.
As a criminal defence counsel, I am acutely aware that police do lie, plant evidence, lie under oath, and assault suspects. Let me be clear: these officers are in the minority. Let me be even more clear: Durham Regional Police Force is protecting this officer’s credibility for future court cases. The problem is that we don’t really know if this officer learned his lesson by being docked 24 hours of pay. I’m sure he apologized for his bad behaviour. Or, was he really apologizing for getting caught?
By the way, if Durham Regional Police won’t name the officer, the Toronto Star looked into the matter. On page GT4 of the article, the author states: “Two sources familiar with the force identified the officer in the video as veteran patrol constable James (Jamie) Ebdon. Smile, constable, you’re on candid camera!
If you feel you have been treated unfairly in police questioning or an investigation, our legal defence team can help get to the bottom of it, and see that justice is served- call one of our lawyers for a free confidential consultation today.
This article is in referenced to the Toronto Star posting on May 8, 2012 “Durham police constable threatens to beat up man and plant cocaine on him, video shows“