Sgt. Steven Desjourdy penalty decision put off until October

A penalty will be decided for Ottawa police Sgt. Steven Desjourdy in October at the earliest after he was found guilty of discreditable conduct related a well-publicized cellblock strip search case.

Desjourdy found guilty of discreditable conduct under Police Services Act for cellblock strip search

A penalty hearing for Sgt. Steven Desjourdy, who was found guilty of discreditable conduct at an internal Ottawa police hearing into a widely reported, controversial cellblock strip search in 2008, will continue in October.

In September 2008, Desjourdy left a female prisoner half naked in pants soaked with urine; her shirt and bra had been cut off during a strip search after she mule kicked an officer in the cellblock area.

It took more than three hours for Desjourdy to provide her with temporary clothing called a blue suit.

He was charged with sexual assault, but was later acquitted. A police disciplinary hearing was then called and found Desjourdy guilty of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.

Sgt. Steven Desjourdy is currently working with the Ottawa police's central district.
​Desjourdy is currently an investigator in the central district and his most recent cases were related to human trafficking and assault.

Desjourdy could face a pay cut or demotion from sergeant to constable.

Prosecution wants 6-month demotion

A penalty hearing lasting most of the day Thursday heard submissions from both sides and will continue Oct. 21.

During closing arguments in January, prosecutor Robert Houston argued Desjourdy's testimony in the internal hearing and testimony he made under oath during a preliminary hearing three years ago was inconsistent.

Houston now seeks a six-month demotion from sergeant to first-class constable.

Defence lawyer Michael Edelson, who also represented Desjourdy during his criminal trial, argued there is no evidence Desjourdy brought discredit to the police service.

Edelson wants a five-day forfeiture of pay and a reprimand.

He added the female inmate — who cannot be identified due to a publication ban — was violent, aggressive, belligerent, profane and "the author of her own misfortune."

Police have said their review and change of cellblock operations "reflect the Service’s commitment to accountability, transparency and support to the professional staff assigned to the care and handling of prisoners."