SUDBURY -- Thirty-eight charges laid against the head of Greater Sudbury Police Service's traffic management unit tell the story of a “very experienced” officer who didn't think the rules relating to police conduct applied to him, says the lawyer representing the service.
Sgt. Gary Lavoie, a 29-year veteran, didn't keep proper notes of his daily activities, conducted unauthorized police checks of people for his own purposes and gave some of that information to third parties, all contrary to police policy, prosecutor David Mijicovsky charged Friday.
He made the allegations in his opening statement at a Police Services Act hearing into 36 misconduct charges against Lavoie.
Lavoie pleaded not guilty to the charges last week on the first day of what is expected to be at least a two-week hearing.
He is facing 31 counts of discreditable conduct, three counts of breach of confidence, one count of neglect of duty and one count of insubordination. Two more charges of insubordination were laid against Lavoie last week, but will be dealt with separately.
Lavoie was suspended with full pay Sept. 7, 2011, after an investigation by Greater Sudbury Police's professional standards bureau into allegations made Dec. 23, 2010, by his ex-spouse, Cheryl Wright.
Mijicovsky said Lavoie engaged in conduct prohibited by police procedures and that discredited the police force “dozens and dozens of time over several years.”
Evidence will show Lavoie conducted several police checks on Leanne Tucker, his current spouse, in June of 2010. He also ran checks on Tucker's husband, Matt, said Mijicovsky.
The checks were made through Niche, a police records management system, and the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system, operated by the RCMP.
Lavoie is representing himself at the hearing after firing his lawyer. He has been accompanied by his father, Joe Lavoie, a retired inspector with the Sudbury police department.
Lavoie came out swinging in his opening statement, saying the charges against him stemmed from “an act of revenge put together in haste and founded in the wrath of a woman scorned” -- his ex-spouse Cheryl Wright.
The career cop said the investigation that “seemingly began as neutral and unbiased” has evolved into a “fishing expedition” involving more than a dozen complainants, all directly or indirectly related to Wright.
During the investigation, Lavoie made allegations of his own against police administrators, allegations he said were deemed “vexatious” by police brass.
He accused the service of being inconsistent in the way it deals with complaints.
Lavoie said he has been pressured to retire, but will continue to “fight back” against the charges, which he called “old-fashioned bullying, but on a corporate level.”