A judge has ruled the trial of an OPP officer accused of assaulting a First Nations man in a Geraldton jail cell will continue Thursday, despite a defence argument for a directed verdict.
Cst. Brian Bellefeuille was charged with public mischief and assault causing bodily harm after an altercation with Gary Megan in an OPP cell on February 11, 2012.
Bellefeuille was acquitted on the public mischief charge on Tuesday.
Defence lawyer Andrew McKay also argued the Crown had not provided enough evidence that Bellefeuille had caused the injury to Megan and that a directed verdict should end the trial.
But this morning Justice F.A. Sargent ruled the proceedings would continue.
McKay told the court he expects to call a civilian jail guard, as well as Bellefeuille, to the stand tomorrow.
Trial took twist
The judge's decision followed a statement of opinion he made about the tough job faced by police officers.
At the time, the Crown had been arguing Gary Megan was unlawfully arrested when police found him drunk outside Geraldton's only bar.
Lawyer Andrew Capell said police could have given Megan a ride home, as they've done with other intoxicated people.
But in the middle of the trial, Justice Sargent asked Capell to consider another case involving a First Nations man who died in a Kenora police cell.
He too was picked up by police for public intoxication.
"We must consider what police officers have to do when temperatures are minus-20," Sargent said. "Was it improper or would it have been improper to let him walk home and freeze to death?"
The defence then asked the judge to rule the Crown had not provided sufficient evidence and is asked the judge for a "directed verdict" that would end the trial.