Hamilton cop would 'never' offer up police secrets, corruption trial hears

A Hamilton police officer who worked in the guns and gangs unit with Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky says he would never offer up police secrets to an informant as Ruthowsky is alleged to have done.

Craig Ruthowsky of Hamilton police faces charges including bribery and cocaine trafficking

Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky of Hamilton police is facing several charges in Toronto Superior Court. The Crown alleges Ruthowsky was helping the criminals he was supposed to be prosecuting, in exchange for cash. (Adam Carter/CBC)

A Hamilton police officer who worked in the guns and gangs unit with Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky says he would never offer up police secrets to an informant as Ruthowsky is alleged to have done.

The corruption trial into Ruthowsky's conduct continued in Toronto Tuesday, as Sgt. Ryan Moore returned to the witness box to talk about his time in the unit.

Assistant Crown Attorney John Pollard fired questions at Moore, asking him about the police procedures in the unit, and how they handled confidential informants.

"Did you ever offer one of your informants access to a controlled substance?" Pollard asked.

"No," Moore responded.

"Did you ever offer police information in return for street information?" Pollard then countered.

"No I did not," Moore said.

Ruthowsky, 44, has pleaded not guilty in Superior Court in Toronto to charges of bribery, attempting to obstruct justice, trafficking cocaine, criminal breach of trust, and conspiring to traffic marijuana.

Ethically, I don't think its right to disclose that information to an informant.- Sgt. Ryan Moore

The Crown alleges a drug dealer was  paying Ruthowsky $20,000 a month for information on police investigations. He was caught on wiretap calls with the dealer as part of a massive Toronto police investigation dubbed "Project Pharaoh." 

Sgt. James Paterson, who also worked in the guns and gangs unit and referred to himself in the witness box as once being Ruthowsky's best friend, previously testified that Ruthowsky was trying to build the dealer's trust so he would roll over on a bigger fish that Hamilton police had been chasing for years.

A question of ethics

"He explained to me that [the dealer] was providing him information on someone else, who I was aware of, who was a very prominent drug importer in Ontario, in Canada … he said he was trying to build [the dealer's] trust so he would roll over on that second person," Paterson previously testified.

Moore told the jury Tuesday that he wouldn't pass on any police information to a confidential informant.

"Ethically, I don't think its right to disclose that information to an informant," he said.

Moore also discussed the official policy with respect to confidential informants that was in place in the guns and gangs unit when he and Ruthowsky worked there.

In those policies, court heard, it says that police officers can't allow a registered informant to conduct criminal activities, if they know about them.

"Just because the informant is providing information, doesn't mean they can go out of their way to commit crimes … in order to obtain information," Moore said.

Key witness to begin testimony on Wednesday

For much of his time in the witness box on Monday, when he began his testimony, Moore described the methods being used to catalogue evidence inside the guns and gangs unit's "offsite location," which he said was "not in good condition at all.

"There was a lot of junk left over … a lot of boxes and clutter left over from other investigations," he said.

It's from that location, the Crown alleges, that Ruthowsky took a massive cocaine press that was seized from a drug dealer, and then sold it to another drug dealer on the first dealer's behalf, while setting aside some of the profits for himself.

The Crown's key witness — the drug dealer who is alleged to have paid off Ruthowsky — is expected to begin testifying Wednesday.

adam.carter@cbc.ca