G20 officer found not guilty on assault charges
Judge says only eyewitness in case was 'unreliable'
An Ontario Superior Court judge has acquitted Toronto police Const. Glenn Weddell on all assault charges arising from the G20 protests nearly three years ago.
Weddell was charged after Dorian Barton's shoulder was broken on June 26, 2010. Barton alleged that a police officer hit him with a riot shield, knocking him to the ground.
Weddell, the first Toronto officer to go on trial for charges stemming from the protests, pleaded not guilty to assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
Outside the downtown Toronto courthouse, the 49-year-old officer said the process had been "quite difficult" and he's "glad it's over."
"It's been hard on me and my family and I just want to get back to doing what I love most, policing in the city," Weddell said.
During the judge-only trial, Weddel had testified that the only contact he had with Barton on June 26 was to help him up off the ground.
Barton, 32, had gone to Queen's Park that day to survey the scene.
The only eyewitness in the case, Andrew Wallace, testified earlier this week that he saw Barton being "charged" by a police officer who assaulted him with his shield, knocking him over. He said the officer then struck Barton with his baton.
"It was disgusting," Wallace told the court.
In delivering his verdict today, Justice Gregory Ellies said Wallace was "unreliable," which left some reasonable doubt.
A video presented to the court showed Barton already on the ground as an officer helps him up. He is then quickly surrounded by several other officers in riot gear.
Police proceed to usher Barton a few steps forward then one of the officers appears to shove him and he trips over a curb and falls to the ground again.
Weddell testified that he doesn't remember seeing anyone assault Barton, but noted that in the video it looks like another officer kicks Barton at one point while he's on the ground.
"It was more like, 'Get up, get out of here,"' Weddell testified. "That could be construed as assault, definitely, but it was more like a motivational thing ... I see that in the video."
Upcoming G20 trial
In delivering his verdict today, Justice Gregory Ellies said while he had "concerns" about Weddell's testimony, he believes the officer would have remembered striking Barton.
The case "demonstrates the difficulty that we had in policing the G20," said Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association.
"We saw some credibility issues ... and some bias toward the police, and I'm sure we're going to see a lot more of that in other trials that are coming up on the G20," he said.
Another officer facing charges stemming from the G20 protests, Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani, is set to go to trial next week on two counts of assault with a weapon.
That case relates to an incident also outside the Ontario legislature on the night of June 26 when Adam Nobody suffered a fracture below his right eye, and a broken nose. Andalib-Goortani is also alleged to have struck a woman with his baton that same evening.
With files from The Canadian Press