A former Alberta sheriff now faces assault charges in connection with an attack on a mute man at the provincial court in Red Deer, Alta. Bill Berry, 52, was physically removed from the courthouse in 2011 after entering through the wrong door to pay a ticket.

The solicitor general's office investigated and found one of the five sheriffs involved used excessive and unjustified force, but no charges were ever laid.


Bill Berry, who had surgery for throat cancer in 2008, was forcibly removed from a Red Deer, Alta., courthouse in 2011. (CBC)

In a rare move, a judge listened to Berry’s complaint behind closed doors and agreed there is enough evidence to charge the former sheriff, Thomas Bounds, with assault and aggravated assault in what's referred to as a private prosecution.

Berry’s lawyer Michael Bates said his client is pleased his case will finally move forward.

"He understands this is not confirmation of anything, it’s simply a start to the process," Bates said.

Surveillance video from the Red Deer court house in 2011 shows Berry being dragged out by the accused and held down by five sheriffs.

Berry is a throat cancer survivor who can't speak and breathes through a tube.

At one point during the altercation the tube became dislodged, causing him medical distress.

Bounds will appear in court on April 15.