Cop cleared in Taser teen case

TONY BLAIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

EDMONTON -- An Edmonton courtroom erupted with cheers yesterday after a city cop was acquitted of assault with a weapon for using a Taser on a 15-year-old boy in a strip-search cell.

Provincial court Judge Raymond Bradley ruled the actions of Const. Todd Hudec, 32, were "not unreasonable" because the teen suspect had twice lied to officers about not being armed despite having three knives on him.

"It is his lies in respect to weapons that tips the balance," said Bradley. "The force was not unreasonable in the circumstances.

"The court has a doubt and the defendant is entitled to the benefit of that doubt. The charge is dismissed."

Family and friends of Hudec, including fellow police officers, immediately began clapping and hollering in the courtroom and hugged the relieved officer.

Outside court, Hudec told reporters he didn't wish to comment on the case, but said he was "definitely" happy.

Bradley ruled he accepted Hudec's testimony about what happened, but did not believe the teen, now 18.

The teen testified Hudec, 32, zapped him with his Taser after telling him it was a punishment for lying to police.

The teen, who cannot be identified, told court he had done nothing to warrant being zapped and said Hudec told him: "You're lucky you're only getting it in the thigh," before deploying the stun gun once on his leg.

The incident happened Dec. 24, 2003, after the teen was arrested following an attempted house break-in. He told police he had no weapons on him, but they later found two knives in a pocket and one strapped to his body.

Hudec took the stand in his own defence and testified the youth became aggressive during a strip search and advanced on him with his fists in the air. He denied using the Taser to teach the teen a lesson.

The officer admitted he failed to file a required control tactics report and made no mention of the incident in either his notes or his police incident report. Hudec also did not arrange a mandatory medical check on the teen.

Crown prosecutor John Szekeres argued Hudec used his Taser on the teen "for absolutely no reason" and called it a case of "excessive" and "unreasonable" police force.

Defence lawyer Alex Pringle argued the teen was an active resister who had lied about being armed with several knives and that Hudec had the right to use force on him.

The teen has launched a $105,000 lawsuit against the police. Last fall, a youth court judge tossed out charges against the teen after ruling Hudec had abused his power and it would be "offensive" to go forward with the prosecution.

Judge Patricia Kvill said she found Hudec had used his stun gun on the teen after he had been strip-searched and while he was completely compliant.

"It is a situation where an officer used a prohibited weapon simply to punish," said Kvill. "The action of Hudec was a shocking abuse of police powers."


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