Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Suspect required 'life-saving' surgery due to 'very fresh injury': doctor at cop's trial

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The trial of a Winnipeg police officer accused of kicking and seriously injuring a suspect at the Public Safety Building resumed Monday with testimony from the surgeon who performed emergency surgery on the alleged victim.

Const. Ryan Law, 30, was arrested as a suspect in an aggravated assault on Henry Lavallee in 2009 following an internal investigation dating back to an incident in November 2008. The Crown alleges Law kicked Lavallee in the stomach as he lay on the floor of a PSB holding room.

Law has pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent.

Lavallee, now 49, was rushed to hospital from the Winnipeg Remand Centre and underwent an emergency procedure to repair his small bowel on the morning of Nov. 23, 2008, Dr. Ethel MacIntosh testified Monday.

Lavallee had spent the night in the ER, and his condition appeared to be worsening.

"He required life-saving surgery. He was extremely ill," MacIntosh said. She ultimately found a two centimetre laceration to his bowel and a six to eight centimetre tear in connective tissue that passes blood to the bowel, she said.

It was an unexpected place for such an injury, and there was nothing intrinsically suggesting how it happened. She put its cause down to "very severe" blunt trauma to Lavallee's abdominal wall.

"Court has heard testimony from Mr. Lavallee that he was kicked in the stomach. Is that injury consistent with that type of force?," independent Crown attorney Kerry UnRuh asked her.

"Yes. It is," MacIntosh replied.

A key element to the Crown's case against Law is proving the timeline of events.

MacIntosh described the nature of the injury Lavallee suffered as one that got worse as time went on, and had been inflicted in the 24 hours prior to him undergoing surgery.

"This was a very acute, progressive injury. This was not something that had been smouldering over days," MacIntosh said. "It was a very fresh injury," she said.

Lavallee was arrested by police and brought to the PSB around 2:10 p.m. the day prior, court heard. He says he was kicked around 2:30 p.m. and was escorted out of the building around 2:50 p.m. and transported to the remand centre.

He was transported to the emergency room after 7:45 p.m. A paramedic previously testified Lavallee showed no visible sign of injury.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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