Hamilton police have withdrawn a pair of charges against Const. Ryan Tocher in the 2010 beating of Po La Hay.
Tocher faced Police Services Act charges of discreditable conduct and unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority. The charges were withdrawn at a hearing Tuesday morning.
"We're pleased because that's what he deserved," said Gary Clewley, who has represented the former pro hockey player in three investigations in the past five years.
"He's had some bad luck but that's going to change."
On May 4, 2010, Tocher was part of a major drug investigation that saw 49 people arrested. A group of officers, including Tocher, entered an apartment at 21 Sanford Ave. N. that turned out to be the wrong address.
Hay, who lived in the apartment, was taken to hospital, where he got three stitches above his left eyebrow. A month later, based on "new medical information," the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was called to investigate, Hamilton Police Service heard in Tuesday's hearing.
The SIU laid criminal charges against Tocher, who was acquitted in court by Justice Paul Currie. An Ontario Provincial Police investigation also found that excessive force had been used.
But given the finding by Justice Currie, "there is no reasonable prospect of conviction in a police tribunal setting and previously laid Police Service Act charges have been withdrawn," said police chief Glenn De Caire.
Tocher is back at work as part of the homicide unit, Clewley said.
Meanwhile, the Hay incident has caused Hamilton police to make some changes, said De Caire.
The force has improved its procedure for executing search warrants. Officers have received more training, and now submit individual reports when use of force results in injury. Before, team reports would be submitted.
"We want individual accountability," he said.
Hay's family filed a civil suit against Hamilton police in 2011. The case was settled out of court.
De Caire said he met with Hay and his family earler this year.
"I offered my personal apology and shared with him the positive steps already taken to prevent this from happening," he said. "Mr. Hay has accepted my apology."
Tocher was also cleared in 2007 after the shooting death of Cambodian refugee Soun Saing, who assaulted the owner of a pool hall.
He was also investigated and cleared in June in the shooting death of Phonesay Chanthachack, who Tocher shot twice as Chanthachack attempted to leave a parking lot in a stolen van.
Clewley said it is a coincidence that all three incidents involved men of southeast Asian descent.
"He's out doing his job. He doesn't pick these incidents," he said. "It's not like he went through the list of potential suspects and picked out those he was going to have an encounter with."
The father of two has returned to work and is doing well, Clewley said.
"He's anxious to get on with his career."