Se­nior Toronto of­fi­cer al­leges hear­ing un­fair

Charges po­lice pros­e­cu­tors us­ing ‘awe­some’ re­sources

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CANADA - BY SHAN­NON KARI

TORONTO • A se­nior Toronto po­lice of­fi­cer fac­ing a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing over al­le­ga­tions that in­clude sex­ual ha­rass­ment and bul­ly­ing of col­leagues com­plained yes­ter­day that the pros­e­cu­tion has been un­fair.

The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Staff In­spec­tor Steve Izzett sug­gested Toronto po­lice are us­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sources in a case that could po­ten­tially end the ca­reer of a one-time ris­ing star on the force.

“What is at stake here is the rep­u­ta­tion of my client, who has had an ex­em­plary ca­reer for 25 years. The pros­e­cu­tion has the ben­e­fit of the awe­some ma­chin­ery of the force. My client has been alone, re­ly­ing on his per­sonal re­sources,” said lawyer Won Kim at the Po­lice Ser­vices Act hear­ing.

Mr. Kim asked for more time to “di­gest” the 180,000 pages of ev­i­dence that has been dis­closed to his client since eight dis­ci­plinary charges were is­sued in March 2009. “This is like a se­cu­ri­ties case,” he said in ref­er­ence to the amount of ma­te­rial, which in­cludes in­ter­views with 50 po­lice wit­nesses.

Mr. Izzett, 45, was the head of the Toronto po­lice in­tel­li­gence unit, which probes or­ga­nized crime and biker gangs, when the al­le­ga­tions against him came to light in 2008. The dis­ci­plinary charges are widerang­ing and un­prece­dented against such a high-rank­ing of­fi­cer.

One al­le­ga­tion is that while the head of the in­tel­li­gence unit, he made un­wanted ad­vances to­ward a fe­male col­league. “You pres­sured her to have an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with you, in­ap­pro­pri­ately made com­ments about her phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion,” states the No­tice of Hear­ing that al­leges Mr. Izzett en­gaged in the “sex­u­al­iza­tion” of of­fice con­ver­sa­tion.

Other counts in­clude al­le­ga­tions that Mr. Izzett dis­played “tyran­ni­cal con­duct” to­ward ju­nior col­leagues, such as ad­dress­ing of­fi­cers as “ass­holes.” He is also ac­cused of so­lic­it­ing of­fi­cers “to act as spies” as well as dis­pos­ing of of­fi­cial notes and try­ing to delete files from a Toronto po­lice lap­top.

Mr. Izzett has been sus­pended with pay from his $130,000-a-year job for the past 16 months. He has “the un­shaken con­vic­tion that he will clear his name,” Mr. Kim said.

The heart of the case was dis­closed “well over a year ago,” said Brian Gover, one of two out­side lawyers re­tained by Toronto po­lice to act as pros­e­cu­tors at the dis­ci­plinary hear­ing.

“While he is sus­pended with pay, he is gain­ing pen­sion cred­its,” said Mr. Gover, who sug­gested the of­fi­cer is try­ing to stall the dis­ci­plinary process.

Mr. Izzett has al­ready un­suc­cess­fully asked the On­tario Di­vi­sional Court and the Court of Ap­peal to throw out the charges.

A re­tired Su­pe­rior Court judge has been ap­pointed to pre­side over the dis­ci­plinary hear­ing. Keith Hoi­lett granted Mr. Izzett a one-week ad­journ­ment, but turned down a request to de­lay the hear­ing un­til the fall. “What is im­por­tant in my view is that the show get on the road,” Mr. Hoi­lett said.

The hear­ing re­sumes July 26, when the pros­e­cu­tion will present its case.

BRETT GUNDLOCK / NA­TIONAL POST

Toronto po­lice Staff In­spec­tor Steve Izzett leaves a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing at a po­lice sta­tion yes­ter­day.

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