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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Niagara Regional Police abandon thoughts of appeal in Taser case

October 6, 2009
Posted By Karena Walter, St. Catharine's Standard

Niagara Regional Police have decided not to go through with an appeal to try and overturn a civil ruling that found officers at fault for Tasering a St. Catharines man multiple times.

A notice of appeal filed by the NRP with the Ontario Court of Appeal after the July ruling claimed there were at least 15 errors made by the judge in the Michael Parsons case.

They included that the judge drew “unwarranted negative inferences against the officers.”

Thirty-year-old Parsons was awarded $50,000 after suing the police service and five officers for negligence, false arrest, malicious prosecution and breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But this week, the police service said it has reached a decision not to pursue an appeal.

Sgt. Jacquie Forgeron said the NRP filed a notice of appeal in August in order to preserve the right to appeal while it carefully considered whether or not to pursue an appeal.

The service has now reached a decision, in consultation with the Region’s legal services, not to pursue an appeal, she said in an e-mail.

“After considering all of the issues both legal and financial a decision was made not to pursue the appeal.”

Parsons’ civil lawyer Margaret Hoy said she has been informed the NRP will not go ahead with the case.

Parsons was the passenger in a Jeep stopped by police on Dec. 28, 2003 on Lundy’s Lane on the outskirts of Niagara Falls. He testified he was pulled out of the vehicle, choked, pulled into a ditch and Tasered 10 to 15 times in retaliation for yelling “Hey Baby” out the window at police.

After a civil trial in Welland in March, Judge Raymond Harris sided with Parsons, saying each of the officers “abused their position of authority in a manner which cannot be condoned.”

The NRP said it has dealt with the matter internally with the involved officers and are satisfied that the matter may be considered closed.

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