OTTAWA - The defence obtained hours of Ottawa Police cellblock video the police watchdog was told had been destroyed, the sex assault trial for a sergeant who cut off a woman’s shirt and bra heard Friday.
Prosecutor Christopher Webb rose at Sgt. Steven Desjourdy’s trial and said that he was returning a CD provided to him by the defence which had put him in an “ethical bind.”
It contains continuous footage of the entire time the woman was in custody – which Webb said he’d asked for but was told through the Special Investigations Unit had been “purged” 18 months after the Sept. 6, 2008 incident.
“Under the Police Services Act, the Ottawa Police Service has a good faith obligation to produce all information and evidence with regard to alleged offences,” Webb said. “It gives rise to concerns of whether the good faith obligation was satisfied in this case.”
The CD was produced after Desjourdy’s alleged victim had gone on trial for assaulting an officer in the same incident, Webb said.
But it was never given to the Crown or disclosed to the woman’s defence. In October 2010, a judge threw out the charges and slammed the police for violating her rights.
More serious, Webb said, is that the CD was produced after the woman’s trial – more than two years after the incident.
Desjourdy’s lawyer Michael Edelson said the defence gave the CD to the Crown so that if it became an issue at trial it wouldn’t slow down proceedings. It’s not yet evidence or relevant, he said.
Outside of court, Edelson wouldn’t comment on how he obtained the “totally authentic” Ottawa Police disk, which includes about five hours of footage not in evidence at Desjourdy’s trial.
Chief Charles Bordeleau said in a statement that he’s aware of the issue but won’t comment during the trial out of respect for the court process.
The Crown contends that Desjourdy – who’s pleaded not guilty – cut off the woman’s clothes to punish and humiliate her for assaulting a female special constable.
It’s not clear whether Desjourdy will testify but he wrote in a report that he cut off her clothing so she wouldn’t hang herself and to clearly search her upper body.
The two-week-old trial is now bogged down with legal arguments about whether what he said at his alleged victim’s trial can be used to cross-examine him at his own if he does take the stand.
Arguments continue Tuesday.