Trial of 2 Ottawa police officers begins

The trial of two Ottawa police officers began as they each face a charge in relation to an alleged assault of a man in August 2011.

Ottawa man suing police for $500K related to alleged assault by 2 officers

This is a cropped version of a photo taken by Tash Doucette as police dealt with Hugh Styres, a homeless man who was sleeping on a sidewalk. (CBC)

The trial of two Ottawa police officers accused of assaulting a man in August 2011 began with testimony from a witness.

The trial started Monday with the defence lawyer for one of the officers Michael Edelson, cross examining a witness and questioning her recollection of the events.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit charged constables Colin Bowie and Thanh Tran with one count each of assault causing bodily harm. It stems from an incident after the officers responded to a call about a man sleeping on a sidewalk along Henderson Avenue in the Sandy Hill neighbourhood.

The SIU said the officers assaulted Hugh Styres, who was eventually arrested and sustained injuries.

The charges were also laid due to witness accounts from Tasha Doucette and her daughter River. The elder Doucette had called police to alert them about Styres lying on the sidewalk. But she said the officers were rough with the man as she watched from behind a bush.

The younger Doucette, who sat in the witness box on Monday, said she made notes right after the alleged assault on Styres, which are now with the SIU.

Edelson, representing Bowie, focused on a supposed inconsistency between Doucette's original statement and court testimony, including if Styres stood on his own or if he was lifted-up and how close she was standing to the area where the alleged incident happened.

River Doucette said she saw the police officers push Styres and heard his head hit the ground and a pool of blood formed.

Tasha Doucette is expected to sit in the witness box tomorrow.

The SIU investigates all reports involving police that lead to death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Charge against alleged victim dropped

The Crown had originally charged Styres with assaulting police after he allegedly took a swing at police, but missed. The charge was later dropped.

Hugh Styres is suing the Ottawa Police Service for $500,000. (CBC)

Styres is also suing the Ottawa Police Service for $500,000.

In his statement of claim for that lawsuit, Stryes said he was intoxicated and can't remember the incident, but said he woke up as he was getting an MRI scan.

Styres alleged two officers "without provocation" used excessive force, "causing him to strike or fall to the ground with extreme force and, in particular, causing his head to strike the ground with extreme force."

The blow fractured bones around his eye, loosened teeth and fractured the upper left jawbone, he said in his statement of claim.

None of the claims in the civil lawsuit have been proven in court.