Friday, May 17, 1991
Officer may be charged for using badge to get sexThe attorney-general's office may recommend criminal charges be laid against a police officer who used his badge to obtain sex from a prostitute. A decision on whether to charge Constable Brian Whitehead should be made within several weeks, a provincial inquiry into the conduct of Metro police's internal affairs unit was told yesterday.
The revelation came as the panel considered submission on inquiry counsel Graydon Sheppard's request to review internal affairs file 42-1-89.
The file involves the case of Whitehead, a sergeant who pleaded guilty to Police Act charges of corruption and deceit for having sex with a woman who complied because she was threatened with arrest. He was off-duty at the time.
A police tribunal last year demoted Whitehead to a first-class constable from the rank of sergeant, resulting in a loss of pay of about $7,000 a year.
Ontario's director of criminal prosecutions, Brian Trafford, is now reviewing the case. He could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the inquiry panel yesterday decided to allow Sheppard to subpoena the Whitehead file from the Metro police, despite determined objections from lawyers for internal affairs and Chief William McCormack.
"Our interpretation of the terms of reference of this inquiry requires us to take very seriously our right to know," said Frank D"Andrea, who heads the three-member inquiry panel.
Eddie Greenspan, counsel for McCormack, had threatened to shut down the inquiry by taking the ruling to the Supreme Court "if necessary." He said Sheppard has no right to subpoena evidence that could be inadmissible when Trafford makes his determination on criminal charges. "I will not allow the members of internal affairs to have to, on a case by case basis, make themselves available without the highest court in the land ruling on it," Greenspan said.
After the panel made its ruling, however, Greenspan said he would not challenge it in a higher court, but he did threaten to ask for Sheppard's removal.
Sheppard said he wants the file in order to examine how internal affairs dealt with the woman's complaint and how police handled the Police Act charges.
The victim has alleged that internal affairs officers discouraged her from persuing her complaint. She also said a crown attorney without hearing her story directly, found no ground for criminal charges.
"The issues she raises are of concern to this inquiry and the issues, are more appropriate than Junger in some ways," Sheppard said.
Part of the inquiry's mandate calls for it to delve into the case of former constable Gordon Junger who signed a controversial resignation agreement amid an escort service scandal.
In other testimony yesterday, the inquiry heard that internal affairs officer's became exasperated with the "love-hate relationship" between Junger and their informant, Roma Langford. "This whole thing was becoming a bit of a joke and a farce," Shannon said.
The inquiry resumes June 10.
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