Toronto

Blair appoints retired Supreme Court justice to police review

Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci will take over from a review of use-of-force policies now that retired judge Dennis O'Connor has withdrawn from the process, said Toronto police Chief Bill Blair on Friday.

Frank Iacobucci to takes over review after judge Dennis O'Connor's decision to step down

Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci will take over from a review of use-of-force policies now that retired judge Dennis O'Connor has withdrawn from the process, said Toronto police Chief Bill Blair on Friday. 2:02

Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci will take over from a review of use-of-force policies now that retired judge Dennis O'Connor has withdrawn from the process, said Toronto police Chief Bill Blair on Friday.

"Justice Iacobucci has an extraordinary and extremely distinguished record of public service," Blair said.

Iacobucci retired from the Supreme Court bench in 2004 and later in 2008 acted as a mediator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Last month agreed to represent the Ontario government in the province's negotiations over resource development in northern Ontario's Ring of Fire region.

The police chief said he thought the entire policing Canada would benefit from the "forward-thinking" review and promised his full support.

"I think very much the police community and the people of Toronto, and the people of Canada, will benefit tremendously from these recommendations," Blair said. "We're all committed to providing him with the support that he needs to do this really important work."

Blair said there was no timeline for completing the review and assured that "these recommendations from justice Iacobucci will be made public."

Retired justice O'Connor said earlier this week he would pull out of the review over conflict-of-interest concerns raised by victims' families.

The law firm O'Connor works for acts on behalf of the Toronto Police Service in civil suits, some of them involving use-of-force.

"He was also aware that any questions of his independence might undermine the value of his recommendations," Blair said.

Blair is mandated under the Police Services Act to conduct a review in the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim because the Special Investigations Unit is involved.

Yatim died in July after he was shot multiple times during a confrontation with police aboard an empty streetcar.

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