Steven Desjourdy police hearing looks at cellblock incident
Sgt. Desjourdy acquitted of criminal charge of sexual assault last spring
Sgt. Steven Desjourdy, who was acquitted of a criminal charge of sexual assault after a highly controversial cellblock incident in 2008, began an internal police disciplinary hearing Monday.
The week-long internal hearing will determine if Desjourdy's conduct was discreditable under the Police Services Act.
In September 2008, a woman — who cannot be named because of a publication ban — was brought into the Ottawa police cellblock on Elgin Street on a charge of public intoxication.
During a search, Desjourdy cut off her shirt and bra and left her topless in a cell in soiled pants. The strip search was captured on surveillance video, which was released to the public by a judge, and the intoxication charge against the woman was later stayed.
The province's Special Investigations Unit then laid a charge of sexual assault against Desjourdy, and he was later acquitted.
For the internal hearing, Desjourdy continues to be represented by Ottawa defence lawyer Michael Edelson, who represented Desjourdy for the criminal matter.
On Monday, central cellblock Staff Sgt. Kevin Maloney testified that people in cellblock are issued blue suits when they've soiled themselves or if they're arrested with little or no clothing.
Maloney said he doesn't know why Desjourdy and others in the cellblock left the woman topless for several hours.
He appeared to be trying to clarify the differences between the way the cellblock was run in 2008, and the way it is today.
He also asked questions about staffing levels, and whether there were enough officers present to ensure the smooth functioning of the facility.
Union says Desjourdy pleased case coming to end
Desjourdy had been assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the criminal matter, but since his acquittal he has been back to his regular duties at central division.
Matt Skof, the president of the Ottawa Police Association, said Desjourdy is pleased that his case is finally reaching the end of its long legal journey.
"Although we would have preferred to see this handled informally...we're obviously hopeful to look at exoneration as well too," said Skof.