A Thunder Bay Police officer has filed an appeal to a decision at a police services act hearing.

James Mauro says he didn't receive fair treatment when he was found guilty of discreditable conduct.

Mauro's lawyer, David Butt, said it's important that a civilian board hears his case — not police officers.

Butt said the police chief is the one who hires the adjudicator and prosecutor in a hearing, forcing the officer to require a secondary review.

"We've gone through a process that has all the major players hired by the chief," Butt said. "Now, I want that process reviewed by an independent civilian body."

First stage

Butt said this is the first stage of the appeal process. What's been filed is a very short notice of appeal that alleges unfair treatment during the course of the hearing.

He said all the transcripts and exhibits need to be ordered and then reviewed, and then a document will be written with the full appeal in it. Afterwards a hearing date will need to be set.

The process could take up to a year.

Butt noted that most matters don't get appealed to an independent civilian commission or board. However, for major matters, it does happen, he said.

"The Ontario Civilian Police Commission, as its name implies, is composed entirely of civilians," Butt said. "So, it's very important that every police officer accused or found guilty of misconduct have access to independent civilian oversight to ensure that what's going on internally in police discipline is also consistent with expectations of the civilian population of the province.

Mauro is also suing the Thunder Bay Police Association for wrongfully removing him from the position of bargaining chair in 2009.