mi-ott-desjourdy300

Sgt. Steve Desjourdy faces one count of sexual assault in the 2008 cellblock strip search of an Ottawa woman. (CBC)

An Ottawa police officer who arrested a woman whose shirt and bra were cut off during a cellblock strip search testified that officers responded with appropriate force, a court heard Thursday.

Cst. Cameron Downie resumed his testimony on Thursday in the trial of Sgt. Steven Desjourdy, who is charged with sexual assault in the cellblock strip search of an Ottawa woman in 2008. Desjourdy has pleaded not guilty.

Downie now trains fellow officers on the use of force, but on the night of Sept. 6, 2008, he was one of five officers present when the woman was brought into the cellblock.

The woman can't be identified because there's a publication ban on her name.

Woman was difficult to control, officer testifies

Under cross examination by defence lawyer Michael Edelson, Downie agreed three officers had difficulty controlling the woman in the cellblock.

Edelson asked Downie if the constables used standard techniques to get the woman to comply to a search. Downie responded yes.

The techniques included a wrist lock and several knee kicks to the prisoner's thigh to gain compliance.

Take down at cell block 'standard practice'

During the strip search the woman kicked a female special constable and was taken to the ground by two male officers.

In her statement to the court, the woman said she was violently thrown to the ground. Downie testified he saw her being taken to the ground using standard practice. 

Desjourdy then took over for Morris and cut the woman's shirt and bra. Earlier during the trial court heard that prisoners should be given clothes deemed safe to wear in the cells. It's alleged the victim in this case was left topless in her cell for three hours with soiled pants before she was given coveralls.

Downie also agreed the woman was combative and unpredictable on more than one occasion during the arrest and search. Downie was one of two patrol officers who at around 5:30 a.m. first spotted the woman holding an open bottle of beer on Rideau Street.

He testified that he initially wasn't going to arrest her and had instead told her to go home. He said she started to walk away but then turned back and demanded to know why she was stopped.

He told Edelson she appeared intoxicated and irrational and said that was why he arrested her for public intoxication.

No recollection of what accused said during search

Downie could not recall specifics of what Desjourdy said during the strip search.

He told the court that while he couldn't rule out that Desjourdy explained why he was cutting off the woman's clothes, he had no recollection of it.