Thursday, January 26, 2017

Nguyen Son Tran: Ontario; Bulletin; White Elephant Case: Corrupt drug investigations and false confessions: A potent mix: "A Toronto police officer connected to a high-profile case of alleged perjury by a group of his fellow officers has pleaded guilty to professional misconduct for failing to report his partner’s “fabrications” in court — testimony that secured a guilty plea that sent a man to jail."..."Four Toronto police officers stand accused of 22 perjury and obstruction of justice charges in connection to drug busts involving Tran. The officers are alleged to have unlawfully searched Tran’s car, located hidden heroin, relocated it to the dashboard — creating a justification to search the car — then provided false testimony in court. The charges haven’t been tested in court. Davy is not facing criminal charges in connection to the Tran incident, but admits he stood by silently as his partner, Toronto police Const. Benjamin Elliot, provided false information about Tran’s January, 2013 arrest. According to the tribunal documents — which outline the charge to which Davy pleaded guilty — Elliot “fabricated evidence” at Tran’s trial in March, 2014. Elliot’s testimony “persuaded” Tran to plead guilty to drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. He was sentenced to 30 months in jail. “Const. Davy was aware of the Const. Elliot’s fabrication. Const. Davy neglected to report the misconduct of Const. Elliot,” reads the tribunal documents summarizing Davy’s misconduct charge." Reporter Wendy Gillis; Toronto Star: January 24, 2017.

Image result for "white elephant"

In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, willful   misconduct in the criminal justice system - much  of it involving forensic evidence - committed by lab technicians,  pathologists, police officers, prosecutors and others.  Think Annie Dookhan; Think Sonia Farak; Think David Kofoed; Think Charles Smith; Think Ken Anderson; Think Gene Morrison. Think Michael West;   I have therefore decided to run this image of a white elephant at the top of every applicable post henceforth, to draw our reader's attention to   what I see as a major problem in all too many criminal justice system's - my own included.  Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009;

 "A Toronto police officer connected to a high-profile case of alleged perjury by a group of his fellow officers has pleaded guilty to professional misconduct for failing to report his partner’s “fabrications” in court — testimony that secured a guilty plea that sent a man to jail. Toronto police Const. Brian Davy has been convicted of insubordination under the province’s Police Services Act for his role in the arrest and conviction of Toronto man Nguyen Son Tran.At a tribunal hearing Monday, police prosecutor Acting Insp. Shane Branton and Davy’s lawyer, David Butt, gave a joint sentencing submission suggesting a 15-day penalty. Both said the sentence was significant enough to deter other officers from engaging in similar “serious misconduct” and assure the public that Davy’s insubordination would not be tolerated. But it would also acknowledge the positive contributions Davy had made within the police — he is described by superiors as hard-working and motivated — and the fact that he pleaded guilty early in the tribunal process. “The guilty plea demonstrates both remorse and acceptance of responsibility,” said Branton. “Davy has demonstrated he is willing to face the consequences.” Davy was not present at the tribunal Monday due to what Butt called a “significant medical issue.” He is currently suspended with pay. The officer, who joined Toronto police in 2011, was convicted of two counts of deceit last year in connection to a January 15, 2014 incident where he falsified paperwork concerning a confidential informant. He was sentenced to a one-year demotion from first- to second-class constable. Elliot, his partner, faces criminal charges in connection to the January, 2013 arrest of Tran — in which Davy was involved — as well as second arrest of Tran one year later, on January 15, 2014 (Tran was still awaiting trial on the January, 2013 drug charge at the time). A spokesperson for Toronto police said Monday that Davy’s January, 2014 deceit was not connected to Tran’s arrests in 2013 or 2014. The criminal charges against Elliot and his three officers came four months after an Ontario judge ruled police had “fabricated” a story that involved “planting” heroin in a car to justify their January, 2014 search of Tran’s vehicle.
Announcing the charges against his officers in a news conference last year, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said there would be a review of the four officers’ prior cases conducted by the force’s professional standards unit “to see if there is any other cause of concern.” Six months later, Toronto police announced new charges against Elliot related to Tran’s 2013 arrest. Kim Schofield, Tran’s lawyer, is hoping to appeal Tran’s 2013 conviction on the fresh evidence of officer misconduct. There may be civil action, she said. In Tran’s 2013 case, Schofield had unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the credibility of police testimony, and urged the judge, Justice Leslie Chapin, to find police were lying in part of their evidence. “My client was sentenced to almost three years in jail as a result of something they now know did not happen in the way that this cop testified that it happened,” she told the Star last July, when the new charges against Elliot were announced. While she is glad the issues with officer conduct in the 2013 case are being raised, she notes that it took the second, problematic arrest of Tran in 2014 in order for that to happen. “Hopefully it’s a cautionary tale to judges to really take this kind of thing seriously,” she said Monday."