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Senior G20 officer guilty on three charges

Aug 25 2015

TORONTO - The most senior police officer charged over mass arrests made during the Toronto G20 summit five years ago was found guilty on three out of five offences at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

Retired Ontario judge John Hamilton, who had been presiding over the case, found Supt. David Fenton guilty of two of three counts of unnecessary exercise of authority and one of two counts of discreditable conduct.

Hamilton said Fenton is committed to serving the public but was working with a lack of understanding of the public's right to protest when he chose to order the boxing in and mass arrest of protesters five years ago.


August 27, 2015
By Corrie Sloot

Aug 25 2015

TORONTO – The most senior police officer charged over mass
arrests made during the Toronto G20 summit five years ago was found
guilty on three out of five offences at a disciplinary hearing on
Tuesday.

Retired Ontario judge John Hamilton, who had been presiding over
the case, found Supt. David Fenton guilty of two of three counts of
unnecessary exercise of authority and one of two counts of
discreditable conduct.

Hamilton said Fenton is committed to serving the public but was
working with a lack of understanding of the public’s right to
protest when he chose to order the boxing in and mass arrest of
protesters five years ago.

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“This case is about the order that Supt. Fenton made and the
consequences that fell from them,” he said.

“Legitimate protesters … had the right not to be subject to
arrest for making noise, chanting and sitting in the public
street.”

Fenton later issued an apology via a statement from his lawyer,
Peter Brauti.

“He would like to personally apologize to all those innocent
parties that were negatively affected,” Brauti said.

“He had to make quick decisions and judgement calls to protect
the city. He deeply regrets that some of those decisions led to the
arrest of people who were not involved in the violence and that some
people were held in the rain for hours.”

Brauti said he and Fenton are disappointed with the charges but
respect the ruling and process.

Fenton had pleaded not guilty to a total of five Police Services
Act charges stemming from two “kettling” incidents that occurred
during the chaotic 2010 summit weekend.

The first took place on Saturday, June 26, 2010, hours after a
small group of vandals smashed windows and set police cruisers
alight.

Fenton ordered officers to box in protesters in front of a
downtown hotel. More than 260 people were arrested and taken to a
makeshift processing centre, which came under severe criticism for
its deplorable conditions.

The second incident occurred the next day when, six minutes after
coming on shift, Fenton ordered police to keep scores of people
standing for hours at a downtown intersection despite a severe
thunderstorm that left them drenched.

Hamilton said Fenton was charged with discreditable conduct
because he had a responsibility to protect detainees from the harsh
weather.

Fenton was found not guilty of a second count of discreditable
conduct for detaining people at the hotel because those people
“were not subject to unduly harsh conditions,” Hamilton wrote in
his ruling.

Hamilton said Fenton’s decision to order mass arrests of the
crowds in both cases was an unnecessary exercise of authority, and
he had no legal or probable grounds to arrest people for breach of
peace or conspiracy to commit mischief.

“That said, containing or kettling is not illegal,” Hamilton
said, adding the action was not prohibited by the Toronto Police
Service’s policies at the time of the summit.

Hamilton said Fenton was found not guilty on the third count of
unnecessary exercise of authority involving detained protesters
because Fenton was not responsible for the amount of time they were
held or for monitoring them because an officer of equal rank was in
charge.

More than 1,000 people were detained over the summit weekend in
what is considered the largest mass arrest in Canada’s peacetime
history. Most were released without charge.

(The Canadian Press)