Saskatchewan

Regina Police Service officer found not guilty of assault

Regina Police Service Cpl. Colin Magee, a 17-year veteran of the force, has been found not guilty of assaulting 42-year-old Lucien Gaudette on Sept. 26, 2018.

Cpl. Colin Magee acted reasonably, given the circumstances of the situation, judge rules

Cpl. Colin Magee, a 17-year veteran of the Regina Police Service, was found not guilty of assaulting a man in police custody on Thursday. (CBC)

A Regina Police Service officer who was accused of assaulting a man in custody was found not guilty on Thursday. 

Regina Police Service Cpl. Colin Magee, a 17-year veteran of the force, was accused of assaulting 42-year-old Lucien Gaudette on Sept. 26, 2018.

In court, Magee's lawyers argued the officer felt threatened by Gaudette, who was holding a pen given to him by Magee to sign paperwork to complete his release, because Gaudette was agitated and refused to give the pen back.

Magee took Gaudette down and held him in an arm bar to restrain him. 

Magee also previously testified that he was assaulted by someone with a pen in June of 2018, a couple of months before the incident with Gaudette occurred, leading him to feel threatened in this incident.

Gaudette's lawyers argued he was agitated because he spent more time in cells than he had thought he would and he was cold, as he spent the night without a blanket or pillow. 

On Thursday, a judge ruled Magee used a reasonable, minimal level of force to restraining Gaudette given the circumstances of the situation and found him not guilty of assault. 

Magee was in court on Thursday, surrounded by friends and family, who hugged him and congratulated him after the verdict was read. 

Outside court, Magee's lawyer Aaron Fox said the officer was anxious to move on from this situation and get back to his policing career.

Aaron Fox says the case involving Magee illustrates how quickly things happen in tense situations involving police and the scrutiny that comes after the fact. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Fox said the case ultimately depended on the facts and the circumstances of what took place that day. 

"What [this case] illustrates is that things happen really quickly," Fox said. 

"You saw that we spent hours going over what happened over a three- or four-minute time span and the actual incident involves seconds."

Fox said whenever the Regina Police Service receives a public complaint about an officer's actions, the file is then reviewed for anything else that may become an issue.

"Quite honestly I don't see anything else that would be an issue, but that review will take place," Fox said. 

A Regina Police Service spokesperson said the criminal process needs to be completed before the administrative review can be completed. An appeal of Thursday's decision could delay that.

"The professional standards section and the chief will see what, if any, discipline or sanctions will be put in place, in accordance with the Police Act," the spokesperson said.

Magee has faced previous allegations of assault in the past, but those allegations weren't brought up in court and his lawyer said they weren't relevant to this case.

Gaudette's lawyer didn't offer comment on the verdict and Gaudette was not in court on Thursday. 

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