|Sgt. Steve Desjourdy. (Errol McGihon/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA — Nearly two hours after she was given jail garb, a topless female prisoner had yet to put it on, an Ottawa police cell block special constable testified at his sergeant's sex assault trial.
"Do you not think if someone was feeling humiliated and degraded, wouldn't they put on the blue suit as soon as possible?" Defence lawyer Michael Edelson suggested to Michael Bednarek.
The woman got the suit at 9:47 a.m. - three hours after her top was removed - but didn't have it on when he went to take her for fingerprinting at 11:28 a.m., Bednarek said as he watched a video of himself in the cellblock corridor. The woman was not visible.
"My head was down, giving her privacy," Bednarek said, adding he was "taken aback" that she had her arms folded across her bare chest.
"I explained to her you're going to fingerprint, please put on your proper clothing."
Sgt. Steve Desjourdy has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault.
He's accused of cutting the woman's bra and shirt with scissors and leaving her topless on Sept. 6, 2008, for hours as payback for her assault on a female colleague.
The court saw a video in which the woman -- arrested for public intoxication - struggles with officers and mule kicks one. She's grounded and Desjourdy approaches with scissors.
Edelson raised the issue of whether the woman's bra was really cut off - and not unhooked - when he showed Bednarek a video of the woman appearing to put on a bra in a stairwell as she left the station.
The 22-year veteran of Ottawapolice cell blocks testified prisoners can use the underwire of their bra as a weapon or hide knives, razorblades or crackpipes in the cups.
The fact that the woman kicked the officer before her upper body was searched made him think she had something hidden, Bednarek testified.
"We've seen it before when someone becomes active resistant," he said. "They'll twist away, they'll turn, trying to get you to not search that area."
Bednarek said he believed Desjourdy cut the woman's shirt as part of the search and never laid hands on her. The sergeant made sure she was covered up as she was taken to a cell.
Bednarek vehemently denied that anything was done to humiliate, punish or put the woman in her place - which the Crown charged in his opening address.
The trial continues Monday.