Yet another judge has found yet another Ottawa police officer not credible in a case where, as usual, a man was assaulted and then charged with assault on police.
A man who was punched in the face by an Ottawa police officer after he questioned the officer’s use of force was found not guilty of several charges last year when a judge decided she couldn’t trust the sworn testimony of three constables involved in the incident.
The case involves the same Ottawa police officer, Const. Daniel Levesque, who was chastised by another judge in November for violating a man’s rights by sending him into the Rideau River to recover a used syringe. Drug charges against two men were stayed in that case.
Rene Cote, 53, testified his nose was broken by Levesque after the officer singled him out when he loudly questioned the amount of force that was being used by police while they arrested another man near Cumberland and Murray streets on Dec. 13, 2008.
Here’s the judge:
Before finding Cote not guilty of assaulting police, resisting arrest and causing a disturbance in October, Ontario Court Justice Celynne Dorval said she believed Cote’s evidence and didn’t accept Levesque’s testimony.
In her decision, Dorval also said Levesque’s claimed reason for arresting Cote “lacks credibility.”
Levesque’s fellow officers, who apparently suffered a little situational amnesia, were also scolded:
When it was suggested that Levesque had kneed Mr. X, Const. Abel Herbert’s evidence was that he didn’t remember, Dorval said.
“That is simply unbelievable,” said Dorval. “He’s the one dealing with Mr. X. Either it occurred or it didn’t, but to tell this court ‘I don’t remember that’, frankly, is incredible.”
Const. Adrian Benjamin also testified that he “had no recollection” of Levesque’s role in the arrest of Mr. X and “does not recall” what Levesque was doing as he was grabbing for Mr. Cote’s hands, Dorval said.
Benjamin testified he was trying to assist Levesque with Cote, while Levesque testified the exact opposite — that Benjamin was nowhere near him at the time. Benjamin also said he didn’t remember Levesque punching Cote, even though Levesque admitted that he had.
“Const. Benjamin and Const. Herbert, in my view, are put in a very difficult position vis-a-vis Const. Levesque and one can only question why they felt they had to suddenly have no recollection as to Const. Levesque’s role in all of this,” said Dorval.
Déjà vu all over again. And this time the judge didn’t even need a video.