|Crime scene photos of the RCMP plane and injuries to Det. Lorne Bragg who was hurt while escorting prisoner Christopher Alexander from Calgary to Toronto. Photos taken in court at University Court House in Toronto on Wed. July 04/12 ( Injuries to Det. Lorne Bragg ). (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Two Toronto cops violated a violent prisoner's charter rights when they tied up a shackled, spitting prisoner with an electrical cord around his head as they flew on an RCMP aircraft from Calgary to Toronto, a judge ruled Thursday.
But Justice Gary Trotter refused to stay the proceedings and found Christopher Alexander guilty of two counts of assaulting peace officers for head-butting Det. Lorne Bragg and spitting on Det. Const. Sajeev Nair on Feb. 11, 2011.
Trotter vowed to remedy the charter breach by reducing the penalty against Alexander, 28, when he imposes sentence on Sept. 5.
"I am not satisfied that the stay is the remedy in this case," said Trotter, who described the policemen's actions against the "unruly, incredibly strong prisoner" as "heavy-handed and demeaning."
But the judge said police, who often perform in demanding and dangerous conditions, cannot always measure their force exactly. But Alexander was tied up like a horse for four hours, which was excessive, Trotter said.
But the officers weren't punishing or exacting revenge against Alexander, just trying to stop his "disgusting behaviour," said Trotter said.
Despite being handcuffed, belly-chained and shackled to his airplane seat and wearing seatbelts and shoulder-straps, Alexander managed to remove his spit-mask.
Alexander spit at Nair, who confronted him in the front, while Bragg approached him with another spit-mask from behind. Alexander head-butted Bragg in the face.
Both officers then punched Alexander into submission and then wrapped a 50-foot electrical cord around his mouth and behind his head to terminate his spitting, court heard.
Trotter rejected the accused's position that the head-butt was a reflex or self-defence measure as Bragg unsuccessfully tried to place a spit-mask on him.
Alexander's lawyer, Magda Wyszomierska, argued the officers weren't "involved in a life-and-death situation" so the force was excessive and the charges should be stayed due to "flagrant breach of my client's rights."
Alexander was being transported from Calgary to Toronto on a Canada-wide warrant after being accused of opening fire on a security guard inside a packed Fairview Mall in September 2010 over a stolen bottle of cologne.
While in a holding cell in Calgary, Alexander yanked a bolted steel stool from a cement floor and battered a door with it.
Due to his destructive behaviour, two commercial airliners refused to carry Alexander and the RCMP provided a seven-seat plane and pilot, court heard.