The presiding officer ruled Monday to keep hearings closed in a high-profile case regarding suspended Hamilton Police inspector David Doel.
“I'm critically aware of the public interest,” said presiding officer Robert Fitches, a retired OPP superintendent, during a pre-hearing motion. “On the other hand, there is ... responsibility of retaining information on Ms. Y.”
Lawyer Gary Hopkinson, representing the female complainant referred to as Ms. Y, said neither he nor his client want to be subjected to public scrutiny, and that any information released would be damaging to her personal and professional life.
“I can't sit here and presume to be Yoda [and open and close the door to the public],” Fitches said during the public portion of the hearing. “The danger is far too great.”
David Doel faces a total of 14 charges of misconduct under the Police Services Act.
Monday was the first day of proceedings for Doel, whose offences date as far back as 2006.
Doel faces a total of 14 charges of misconduct under the Police Services Act, including allegedly having sex while on duty, keeping pornography on his work computer, using police phone and video equipment for personal use, and using the national criminal database for personal use.
Doel, a high earner from the police service, has been suspended with pay for the past three years. He is listed on the province's Sunshine List as earning $140,725.94 in 2011.
Fitches first ruled in December that the hearings would be closed to the public in order to protect to privacy of the female complainant.
He did agree to make public any procedural information regarding the hearings, such as the number of witnesses expected in a day or when to expect a ruling. How that information will be disseminated to media is not clear.
Lawyer Brian Rogers, representing the Hamilton Spectator, argued Monday morning to keep an open door on the parts of the proceedings that do not involve the complainant.
“There are allegations that have nothing to do with Ms. Y,” such as insurbordination, said Lynda Bordeleau, lawyer for the Hamilton Police. “There is a public demand for information.”
Doel's lawyer, Harry Black, was opposed to any public hearings.
“Sooner or later, information is going to come out,” he said.