Defence, Crown wrap cases at Ottawa sergeant's trial
Closing arguments in the sexual assault trial of an Ottawa police sergeant will be heard in February after the Crown wrapped its case and the defence elected to call no new witnesses or evidence Friday.
Sgt. Steven Desjourdy has pleaded not guilty to the charge after a cellblock incident in 2008, during which a woman's bra and shirt were cut off.
Proceedings ended early Thursday to allow the Crown and defence to go over potential new evidence: 92 pages of Ottawa Police Service emails and letters regarding cellblock surveillance policies.
But Friday morning, Crown prosecutor Chris Webb and defence lawyer Michael Edelson told court that the material was irrelevant. No new witnesses were called by the Crown, which wrapped its case.
The defence then requested and was granted a two-hour break to go over previous testimony with Desjourdy.
When the trial resumed Friday afternoon, Edelson told court he elected to rest the defence's case.
Closing arguments will be heard starting Feb. 12.
Final Crown witness testified Thursday
In court Thursday afternoon, Webb finished his re-examination of Const. Cameron Downie, one of the two officers who arrested the woman.
On police surveillance video, Desjourdy can be seen cutting off the bra and shirt of the woman, who was arrested for public intoxication.
The woman can't be identified because of a publication ban.
Downie testified Thursday that the officers responded to the cellblock situation with appropriate force.
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.
Under cross examination by Edelson, Downie agreed three officers had difficulty controlling the woman.
Edelson asked Downie if the constables used standard techniques to get the woman to comply to a search. Downie said 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.
Court also earlier heard that Desjourdy cut off the clothes because he thought the woman might harm herself. Another officer testified it didn't make sense to cut off her shirt and bra but leave her pants on if Desjourdy thought she was a suicide risk.
Downie agreed the woman was combative and unpredictable on more than one occasion during the arrest and search. 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.
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.