Kitchener-Waterloo

Attempted murder charge against WRPS sergeant withdrawn

Charges against Waterloo Regional Police Service Sgt. Richard Dorling were withdrawn Friday morning.

Sgt. Richard Dorling charged by Special Investigations Unit after shooting of 30-year-old

(Colin Butler/CBC)

Charges against Waterloo Regional Police Service Sgt. Richard Dorling have been withdrawn at the request of the Crown Friday morning.

Dorling had been charged by Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) with attempted murder, aggravated assault, discharging a firearm with intent and discharging a firearm with reckless endangerment. The SIU has a mandate to lay a criminal charge if they have reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence has been committed.

The charges stem from an interaction on March 31, 2018 between Dorling and a male suspect in a break and enter and car theft that took place in Hamilton. The man was tracked to an industrial area of Cambridge, where Waterloo regional police responded and officers located the suspect. The man was shot.

The man had been the subject of a separate police investigation regarding "a number of offences" that day, Crown attorney Ian Bulmer told the Ontario Court of Justice Friday via teleconference.

A trial was held in Kitchener earlier this year before Justice Toni Skarica, Bulmer said. At that point, he said the suspect asked for a stay of proceedings due to an allegation of excessive force. 

During that trial, Justice Skarica heard from the suspect and Dorling as well as a number of other officers, Bulmer told the court.

He noted that Justice Skarica ultimately found the suspect guilty of six offences and found that Dorling had "done nothing wrong."  

Because the key issues against Dorling had already been litigated and settled in that earlier proceeding, Bulmer said Friday that to continue the prosecution would be "contrary to the doctrine of abusive process."

Waterloo Regional Police Services Chief Bryan Larkin said Friday he was pleased to see the matter resolved.

"Police officers in the field face significant, complex challenges that require split second decision making," Larkin said in a statement.

"We are even more pleased that Sgt. Dorling can move forward with his career and put this matter behind him."

Dorling has continued working "in an administrative capacity" for the police service.

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