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Conviction stayed for man beaten by police

There are certain rights that all Canadian defendants and suspects have, many of which are designed to protect them from inappropriate treatment by the government. This includes police. There are certain things that police officers just can't do to suspects. One of the reasons is because if a suspect talks or admits to something, police want the admission to be of the suspect's own free will. If a court believes that the confession is coerced, it will be thrown out and the officers' behavior will be under close scrutiny.

Unfortunately, one man accused of robbery had to go through a police beating before it appears he talked. He was subsequently charged and convicted of the crime. Initially, he was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison, one year shorter than the 6 1/2 the judge would have handed down, but for the police misconduct. On appeal, however, the Ontario Court of Appeal stayed the conviction because of the suspected brutality.

Another man suspected in the same robbery of approximately $350,000 worth of copper piping was also beaten, threatened and intimidated by police. He was much more seriously injured, however, and even had a cracked rib. In the end, the Crown chose not to prosecute him, likely because of the police brutality.

Not only does police brutality violate an individual's rights and freedoms, but it also makes any confessions or evidence collected by police suspect. This alone makes it more difficult for the Crown to win a case. More importantly, however, being beaten by the police fails to treat suspects with the respect they deserve.

Source: Toronto Sun, "Police brutality in Toronto," Alan Shanoff, Feb. 15, 2014