Toronto police officers to be charged with obstruction, perjury in 2014 drug case: reports
Charges linked to allegedly wrongful arrest for heroin possession
Charges are expected against four Toronto police officers following an allegedly wrongful arrest in a drug case in January 2014, according to multiple media reports.
Sources with knowledge of the situation have told CBC News that charges are expected.
Media reports Wednesday night say the officers will face charges of obstruction and perjury.
Last September, an Ontario Superior Court judge dismissed charges against a man police arrested and accused of possessing heroin. In his decision, Justice Edward Morgan concluded the officers involved in the case "concocted a false story" about why they stopped the defendant and searched his car.
"The misconduct evidenced here is entirely beyond anything that the courts can accept," the judge said.
Morgan also ruled the officers falsely testified they found loose heroin powder on the dashboard, which led to a search that uncovered 11 more grams of the drug wrapped and hidden behind the car's steering column.
"If the heroin was planted on the console by the police and was not left there by the defendant then the ensuing search was not authorized by law. I conclude that is indeed what happened here. All of the heroin that was found pursuant to this pretext for a search is, as they say, fruit of a poisoned tree," the judge wrote.
According to court documents dated Sept. 13, 2015, police said Nguyen Son Tran was stopped in his car on Jan. 13, 2014, for running a red light near Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East and almost hitting a pedestrian.
An officer testified he arrested and charged Tran with possession of heroin after another officer who pulled Tran over spotted white powder on the dash.
Tran was re-arrested and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking after his car was searched and a larger quantity of drugs was found, the documents stated. Tran told the court that when he stopped at a red light he saw an officer, who he said had arrested him the previous year, in a car with another officer.
But in his ruling, Morgan agreed with the defence that the police fabricated the story about stopping the defendant at the red light.
Morgan said "one of the more bizarre aspects of the search" is that a scene of crime officer (SOCO), was called to investigate and record the state of Tran's vehicle "after it was searched, and not before … as that is not typically the SOCO's function."
The judge said "no empty or half-empty bag has been produced from which [the drugs] supposedly spilled, no implements for using heroin were found on the defendant or in his vehicle, no heroin was spilled on the defendant's clothing, and nothing else was discovered in the search to indicate that the defendant was in the process of using or transferring or handling heroin when he was stopped."
Morgan ruled the drugs seized during the search were not admissible as evidence and dismissed the charges against Tran.
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash and Mike McCormack, head of the police union, wouldn't comment on the case.