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Almost There?

Proceedings begin for some officers charged under the Police Services Act in relation to G20 incidents; tribunal now adjourned until September.

Officers at College and Yonge on June 24, 2010.

Today was the first day of tribunals for a selection of officers charged under the Police Services Act with offences committed during the 2010 G20 summit.

None of the officers (Constables Ryan Simpson, Donald Stratton, Jason Crawford, Michael Kirpoff, Michael Martinez, and Alan Li) were present for proceedings, which turned out to be simple adjournments, as the Toronto Police Service is currently in the process of securing outside counsel for these and other G20-related cases. The officers, all charged with unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority, are due back before the tribunal on September 18. The tribunal session was overseen by Superintendent Robin Breen, after Police Chief Bill Blair excused himself from the hearings last month.

Kevin Masterman, a spokesperson for the police, assured us that this wasn’t an instance of kicking the can down the road but a routine development: “We’re still early in the process, much like a court. They’re getting the prosecution ready, getting the defence ready—that’s typical of this process.”

He added: “At this point the Service is in the process of identifying a judge and prosecutors to preside over these prosecutions, likely in the fall.”

In addition to the six constables listed above, four other officers are so far charged with offences under the Police Services Act: Blair Begbie, Vincent Wong, Glenn Weddell, and Babak Andalib-Goortani. Begbie and Wong, charged with unlawful or unnecessary arrest, are scheduled to appear before the tribunal on July 24; they are also likely to have their cases adjourned to September 18. Weddell and Andalib-Goortani, both charged with using unnecessary force in incidents that took place near Queen’s Park, are having their appearances held pending the outcome of criminal prosecutions.

A total of 28 officers and four senior officers will eventually face charges under the Police Services Act; a complete list of names and charges has yet to be released.