Craig Ruthowsky, jailed Hamilton cop, removed from paid suspension list

Craig Ruthowsky is no longer under paid suspension, but the police service won't comment on why they removed the officer from the list while he awaits his charges.
This artist's sketch shows accused Craig Ruthowsky (Pam Davies)

The Hamilton Police Service has pulled a jailed officer accused of participating in a gang off suspension with pay, but won't say why the officer, who is alleged to have aided a gang and conspired to traffic cocaine, is off. 

Hamilton Police spokesperson Catherine Martin said the force couldn't comment on the changed status of Det. Cons. Craig Ruthowsky, because it is "a labour issue between the Service and the member."

Ruthowsky was denied bail after a two-day hearing earlier this month. Calls to Ruthowsky's lawyer, Bernard Cummins, were not returned. 

Jim Dean, a London lawyer who has handled a number of police services act cases, said the circumstance under which the Hamilton Police have changed his suspension is "bizzare."

By withholding comment because of "labour issues," Dean said the force may be shifting the onus back to Ruthowsky. 

While Ruthowksy has been removed from the list of Hamilton officers on paid suspension, it doesn't mean he's off the public purse.

No longer suspended, he will presumably be expected to work— something he can't do if he is behind bars.

Dean said essentially, Hamilton Police have said show up for work, and if you can't, you'll need to use banked time or vacation time. 

Taken together, Ruthowsky is still on the public purse, one way or another. 

"Given the fact that he's incarcerated and through no fault of the department that he can't be there... The onus would be on him (Ruthowsky)," Dean said. "He's responsible under contract to account for missed work time."

"You'd think (Hamilton Police) would give full disclosure especially in light of the nature of this thing."

He asked if by not paying him, "Are you declaring him guilty before he stands in court?

"Are we presuming him guilty?" said Dean. 

If he is somehow not getting paid, Dean said the Hamilton service would have some explaining to do, and would likely face an appeal to retroactively pay the officer. 

Revised list of officers suspend with pay

With Ruthowksy no longer on paid suspension, there are 11 officers currently suspended with pay.

Hamilton Police did not answer if Ruthowsky was suspended without pay. Dean said there are only two ways to be suspended without pay as an officer under the PSA — either as a result of a finding of PSA hearing or as a result of the conviction and detainment on criminal charges.

Ruthowsky had been on paid suspension since June 4, 2012 for charges of allegedly providing information to gangs. With his original Police Service Act charges unresolved, Ruthowsky was arrested in a Toronto Police gang investigation for allegedly participating in the traffic of cocaine and participating in a gang. 

Ruthowsky was denied bail at the beginning of June. He's due back in court on July 7.