For a citizen whose complaint about a police officer results in a professional misconduct charge, walking into the ensuing hearing may be, well, jarring.
Ontario police tribunals have the look, feel and customs of a typical courtroom — except in the place of a judge in robes is a high-ranking police officer in uniform. The prosecutor also wears a police uniform.
Add to this equation a lawyer hired to represent the accused cop, and the complainant may be forgiven for thinking everyone is on the same team.
But questions about impartiality are not unique to complainants. The accused officers, too — whose jobs may be on the line — have their own concerns about an employer with, say, an axe to grind.