Old testimony off-limits in Desjourdy trial

Sgt. Steven Desjourdy will not be cross-examined on testimony he made in an earlier trial, if he chooses to testify in his own defence, the judge has decided.

Defence cited charter right to protection from earlier court statements, judge agreed

An Ottawa police officer charged with sexual assault will not be questioned on testimony from an earlier trial if he decides to testify in his own defence, according to the judge.

The strip search of an Ottawa woman in 2008 led to charges of sexual assault against police officer Steve Desjourdy. (CBC)

Sgt. Steven Desjourdy is facing one charge of sexual assault in connection with the cellblock strip search of an Ottawa woman in 2008.

He has pleaded not guilty. The woman he is accused of sexually assaulting cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

It is unclear if Desjourdy will opt to testify, but Ontario Court Justice Tim Lipson decided Tuesday the prosecution could not cross-examine the officer on the old testimony.

Lipson said all police officers are entitled to protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, just like any other witness.

In this case, Charter 13 entitles Desjourdy protection from earlier court statements that could be used to incriminate him

That is the argument the defence made as part of legal arguments that have delayed the trial until January 2013.

The defence said Desjourdy's old testimony was "compelled" by a de facto subpoena issued to him by the Ottawa Police Service. As a result, they cited Charter 13 and Lipson agreed.

Earlier testimony regarding same cellblock incident

The delay in proceedings was due to a question of whether the Crown could question Desjourdy on testimony he made in an earlier trial concerning charges laid against the woman.

Those charges were stayed in part due to the treatment the woman received while in the cellblock, according to the judge in the earlier trial.

The delays led to scheduling conflicts in booking the extra time for Crown and defence lawyers and the judge to hear the case.

The trial will resume Jan. 2.