An Ontario Superior Court judge has sentenced five former Toronto police drug squad officers to 45 days of house arrest in a landmark police corruption case.
The investigation and prosecution of members of the Toronto Police Service's Central Field Command "Team 3" drug squad has cost more than $12 million and spanned more than a decade with numerous appeals and retrials.
In June, a jury convicted the five of attempting to obstruct justice for covering up a warrantless search of a heroin dealer's apartment in the late1990s.
Three of the officers were also convicted of perjury.
However, the jury also acquitted the former drug officers of more serious charges, including extortion, theft, assault and conspiracy, after a six-month trial that heard from 30 witnesses, including numerous drug dealers.
The officers sentenced Friday are:
- John Schertzer, 54.
- Nebojsa (Ned) Maodus, 49.
- Joseph Miched, 53
- Raymond Pollard, 48
- Const. Steven Correia, 45, who is the only one of the five to remain on the police force, suspended with pay.
In passing sentence, Justice Gladys Pardu called the officers’ actions an "extremely serious" breach of trust, but she also emphasized the impact that the long proceedings have had on the men and their families, calling it catastrophic.
There was "no evidence of a pattern of criminal misconduct," she said, suggesting the officers only rushed the search in a bid to shorten their work day
"Some people would say it's a great result," said defence lawyer Peter Branti. "But if you're somebody who's lived through it, you know, nobody's going to be uncorking the champagne tonight."
All five of the officers say they are considering an appeal.