Witness's father accuses police, defence of bullying

Norm Doucette said he also registered a complaint to the Upper Canada Law Society about defence lawyer

Posted: May 07, 2013
Last Updated: May 07, 2013

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Witness's father accuses police, defence of bullying.  2:46

The father of a witness, who alleges Ottawa police tripped and pushed a homeless man in Sandy Hill, said police and lawyers are intimidating his daughter and granddaughter.  He said police were flashing their lights outside his granddaughter's house at night and that defence counsel is particularly hard on the two women.

On Tuesday, Norm Doucette was outside the courthouse and lashed out at what he called an aggressive defence. He also said that the crown isn't protecting his daughter.



The trial of constables Colin Bowie and Thanh Tran started at the end of April. Norm Doucette's daughter, Tasha, is the crown's main witness. His granddaughter, Tasha's daughter, River Doucette, also testified.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit charged constables Bowie and Tran after the officers responded to a call about a man, Hugh Styres, who was sleeping on a Sandy Hill sidewalk in August 2011.

The SIU said the officers assaulted Styres, who was arrested and suffered injuries.

Tasha Doucette called police to notify them about Styres sleeping on the sidewalk, and said the officers were rough with the man as she and her daughter, River Doucette, watched from behind a bush.

Tasha Doucette is the crown's main witness because Styres said he cannot remember the incident.

In the courthouse on Tuesday, crown witness Tasha Doucette sat in the witness box for a third day. Court was adjourned early on Monday after she frequently broke down on the witness stand when being questioned by defence attorney Michael Edelson.


"My daughter and granddaughter were just trying to do the right thing but they're being intimidated," said Norm Doucette outside the courthouse.

He said that he registered a formal complaint to the Upper Canada Law Society about Edelson. The lawyer said that in 36 years of practice he's never been the subject of a complaint to the society.

"I've seen intimidation in that courtroom," said the grandfather.

"The courtroom is full of policemen," he said, noting he, his family and anyone offering "moral support" to Tasha Doucette were told to leave the courtroom. He said that has isolated the witness.

The judge asked Norm Doucette to be excluded from the courtroom because the defense is considering calling him to testify.  He was in court for some of granddaughter's testimony but not that of his daughter's.

"Take a look in there. It's all cops," he said. "They won't let me in."


Norm Doucette also said police flashing their lights for an hour outside his daughter's house in the evening is a form of intimidation as well. Police said they were responding to a disturbance call and a misdialed 911 call.

Doucette also took aim at the crown. 

"I think the crown is sleeping," he said.

Crown attorney, Andrew Cappell, from Toronto, hasn't dealt with the Ottawa Police Service before.  An out of town prosecutor and judge are being used to ensure a fair trial.

Doucette said because of the way his family is being treated, he thinks witnesses of crimes will be less willing to come forward.

The trial continues to hear the cross examination of Tasha Doucette on Tuesday afternoon.


Styres suing Ottawa police

Styres was charged with with assaulting police after he allegedly took a swing at police, but missed. The charge was later dropped.

Styres is suing the Ottawa Police Service for $500,000. In his statement of claim, Styres said he was intoxicated and can't remember the incident, but said he woke up as he was getting an MRI scan.

Styres alleges two officers "without provocation" used excessive force, "causing him to strike or fall to the ground with extreme force and, in particular, causing his head to strike the ground with extreme force."

The blow fractured bones around his eye, loosened teeth and fractured the upper left jawbone, he said in his statement of claim.

None of the claims in the civil lawsuit have been proven in court.