Toronto Police Corruption Trial: Guilty Verdicts on Obstructing Justice & Perjury Charges

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Six (6) officers charged in the drug squad scandal are shown after the case was originally thrown out of court in 2008: from left, Ray Pollard, Steven Correia, Richard Benoit (not on trial in 2012), Ned Maodus, Joe Miched and John Schertzer. Ron Bull/Toronto Star file photo

Eight years after they were charged, five former members of an elite drug squad have been convicted of several charges in the city’s largest cop corruption trial.

After more than eight days of deliberations, an Ontario Superior Court jury found former detective John Schertzer and four members of the disbanded Team 3 of Central Field Command drug squad guilty of attempt to obstruct justice.

Const. Steven Correia, the only defendant still a police officer, was also convicted of perjury, as were Ned Maodus and Raymond Pollard.

Various defendants were acquitted of several other charges, including assault causing bodily harm, extortion and theft over $5,000.

The defendants huddled with their lawyers after the verdict.

None of the former drug squad members had any comment as they left.

“It continues,” was all Schertzer said.

Joseph Miched marched through a group of reporters outside the courthouse, declining to comment.

“You guys are coming for me? I’ve got nothing to say to you,” the massive former officer said.

Schertzer’s lawyer, John Rosen, said he was disappointed that there were any convictions, and said the officers will be considering an appeal.

Perjury carries with it a maximum jail sentence of 14 years; Obstruction of Justice carries a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. There is no doubt that their lawyers will be appealing their convictions and sentences to the Court of Appeal for Ontario after they are sentenced on November 5, 2012.

“But we’re very pleased that the jury saw that the main complainants were incredible and they never had a case. They were properly acquitted.”

Police association head Mike McCormack said he was disappointed.

“We feel, unfortunately, the jury got most things right but on a couple of counts we believe they made the wrong decision.”

Toronto police Insp. Art Little, who heads the Special Task Force that investigated the case, said nobody wins in this case. “Although a successful prosecution, it’s a sad day for Toronto police. We are glad we are putting it behind us here.”

Prosecutor Milan Rupic praised the jury, who sat more than five months.

“This was a very long case. It was a complex case,” he said. “The community owes those jurors a debt of gratitude.”

Schertzer, 54, Maodus, 49, Pollard, 48, Correia, 45, and Miched, 53, were variously charged with conspiracy to attempt to obstruct justice, theft, assault, perjury and extortion related to their work between 1997 and 2002.

They return for sentencing on November 5, 2012.

All the officers that were convicted will appeal their convictions and sentences after November 5, 2012 to the Court of Appeal for Ontario (pictured above).

Schertzer and Maodus were accused of assault causing bodily harm to marijuana dealer Christopher Quigley, who alleged he was kicked, punched and choked in a drug squad interview room in the spring of 1998.

They were further charged, along with Correia, with trying to extort Quigley into revealing where he kept his drug money.

Furthermore, Correia and Schertzer were charged with stealing $31,150 of Quigley’s cash from his mother’s safety deposit box.

All five were accused of attempting to obstruct justice by covering up an allegedly warrantless search of the Scarborough apartment of heroin dealer Ho Bing Pang in February 1998.

Furthermore, Pollard, Maodus, Correia and Miched were charged with perjuring themselves when they testified about the search.

All the defendants were accused of conspiring to attempt to obstruct justice by lying or preparing false records and notes, particularly regarding the arrest of cocaine dealers Andy Ioakim and Aida Fagundo.

The trial, which started Jan. 16, sat for 86 days and heard from 30 witnesses and had 684 exhibits numbering 2,742 pages.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday at 12:15 p.m.

The former Team 3 members of Central Field Command had originally faced 14 counts, but Justice Gladys Pardu directed acquittals on five of the charges on April 30 after the Crown announced it would no longer proceed with them “in light of the available evidence.”

It was the culmination of a long process for the five accused.

They have been under investigation since at least 2001, and were charged in 2004, seven years after their alleged first offence.

The five defendants and a sixth accused, Richard Benoit, were set for trial in January 2008, but Ontario Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer stayed the charges because of delays attributed to the Crown’s “glacial” pace.

But in October 2009, the Court of Appeal for Ontario overturned that decision and ordered a new trial for all except Benoit.


Summary of Criminal Charges and Verdicts

John Schertzer, 54

Status: Former Detective of drug squad. Charged in 2004 and suspended with pay until his retirement in 2007.

Charges: Conspiracy to attempt to obstruct justice, attempt to obstruct justice, assault causing bodily harm, extortion, theft over $5,000.

Verdict: Guilty of attempt to obstruct justice. Not guilty of other charges.

Steven Correia, 45

Status: Suspended with pay in 2004

Charges: Conspiracy to attempt to obstruct justice, perjury, attempt to obstruct justice, extortion, theft over $5,000.

Verdict: Guilty of attempt to obstruct justice, perjury. Not guilty of other charges.

Ned Maodus, 49.

Status: Resigned from Toronto police in 2007 after convictions on assault and pointing a firearm.

Charges: Conspiracy to attempt to obstruct justice, attempt to obstruct justice, perjury, assault causing bodily harm, extortion.

Verdict: Guilty of attempt to obstruct justice, perjury. Not guilty of other charges.

Raymond Pollard, 48.

Status: Suspended with pay after being charged in 2004. He retired from force in 2008.

Charges: Conspiracy to attempt to obstruct justice, attempt to obstruct justice, perjury.

Verdict: Guilty of attempt to obstruct justice, perjury. Not guilty of other charge.

Joseph Miched, 53

Status: Retired from Toronto Police in 2003 after 25 years.

Charges: Conspiracy to attempt to obstruct justice, attempt to obstruct justice, perjury.

Verdict: Guilty of attempt to obstruct justice. Not guilty of other charges.

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