Ottawa

Crown withdraws charges in Carr cell-block case

A 42-year-old woman who accused the Ottawa police of beating her up is no longer facing criminal charges laid two years ago.
Woman alleging police abuse has charges against her dropped 2:04

A 42-year-old woman who accused the Ottawa police of beating her up is no longer facing criminal charges laid two years ago.

Assistant Crown Attorney Robert Wadden on Wednesday withdrew the charges against Roxanne Carr of obstructing police and damaging property, after the prosecutor reviewed a video showing Carr's treatment in a police cell block.

"I'm very glad that it's over," Carr said in a brief statement.

Her lawyer, Mark Ertel, said it was vindication for Carr, adding that he believes the surveillance tape was crucial in getting the charges against his client dropped.

"The short answer is probably without the videotape, the trial would be going ahead," he said.

The tape has not been publicly released, but Carr alleges that cell-block officers broke her arm and wrist, banged her head against the floor and left her naked in a cell.

The case has parallels to the case of Stacy Bonds, who was arrested, kneed several times, pinned to the floor and subjected to a controversial strip search by Ottawa police in 2008. The cell-block video from that incident was released to the public last November.

Like Bonds, Carr is suing police.

Carr's civil lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said now that the criminal case is withdrawn, the six-figure lawsuit can proceed.

"A civil action has been started. The basis of it includes the false arrest of Roxanne Carr, the excessive force used against her, the negligent investigation of this matter," he said.

Carr is in favour of the public seeing how she was treated by police. A lawyer for CBC and other media organization is fighting for access to the tape.