Police assault trial witness may be unable to continue

Posted: May 13, 2013
Last Updated: May 14, 2013

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A woman who took pictures of the alleged abuse by Ottawa police can't testify by doctor's orders.  2:53

A key witness in the assault trial of two Ottawa police officers may be medically unfit to continue testifying, the Crown told court Monday.

Tasha Doucette and her daughter River Doucette are witnesses in the Crown's case against Ottawa police constables Colin Bowie and Thanh Tran.

Bowie and Tran are charged with assault causing bodily harm. They're accused of tripping and pushing Hugh Styres face-first into the pavement two years ago.


Tasha Doucette had faced three days of cross-examination at the trial, going up against suggestions she was conspiring against police and seeking attention.

She was then hospitalized on Friday.

Courtroom atmosphere 'like a hockey game'

The Crown presented a doctor's letter Monday stating that Tasha Doucette is "medically unfit" to testify, a claim backed up by her older sister, Tonya Doucette.

"As the interrogation process went on by the defence I watched my once confident, young-at-heart sister turn into what I compared to a woman who’s been in a verbally abusive relationship for many, many years," Tonya Doucette said.

"I saw her strength fade, her faith, trust and spirit fade very quickly into someone who is scared, paranoid and emotionally weakened."

A photo taken by Tasha Doucette of police dealing with Hugh Styres, a homeless man who was sleeping on an Osgoode Street sidewalk.

Tonya Doucette said the atmosphere inside the courtroom was similar to a hockey game, where spectators who were favourable toward the accused were chuckling at how the defence was handling her sister.


"She started out as a witness and she’s becoming a victim," Tonya Doucette said.

Tasha Doucette's father has filed a complaint about defence lawyer Michael Edelson to the Law Society of Upper Canada, the body which regulates Ontario's lawyers.

Bowie's attorney wants the charges stayed, but the lawyer representing Tran wants the trial to proceed without Tasha Doucette.

The judge said he wants the Crown to get the doctor who admitted Tasha Doucette to hospital to testify before he makes a ruling, information that will be covered by a publication ban because of doctor/patient confidentiality.

Tonya Doucette said she doesn't want her sister to take the stand again. (CBC)