How charges against police can reverberate through the courts

Two days after Const. Michael Theriault was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and public mischief in the violent beating of Whitby teen Dafonte Miller, he was supposed to take the stand in a Scarborough courtroom.

He was the sole witness in a routine impaired driving trial, and his testimony could make or break the case. But, to the surprise of the Crown prosecutor, Theriault didn’t show up. The prosecutor also wasn’t notified of the charges and that a subpoena — not usually required for police witnesses, since testifying is part of their job — might be needed given that Theriault has been suspended with pay.

The trial was adjourned and the case is now in jeopardy over concerns that the delay has been unconstitutionally long.


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