Police off-duty assault trial begins

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A TRIAL for a Winnipeg Police Service officer accused of assaulting a man while off-duty started as planned Monday, after a judge dismissed a motion to have the case against him quashed for delay.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/03/2021 (644 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A TRIAL for a Winnipeg Police Service officer accused of assaulting a man while off-duty started as planned Monday, after a judge dismissed a motion to have the case against him quashed for delay.

Reasons for provincial court Judge Sidney Lerner’s decision will be released at a later date.

Patrol Sgt. Sean Cassidy is charged with one count of assault for an incident alleged to have occurred March 27, 2017.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Patrol Sgt. Sean Cassidy crosses Kennedy Street after leaving the Law Courts Building after his hearing Monday. The Winnipeg Police Service veteran, who has spent more than two decades on the force, is currently on paid administrative leave.

Cassidy had argued prosecutors took too long to bring his case to trial. Timelines established by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016 mandated that, barring exceptional circumstances, provincial court cases be resolved within 18 months of an accused person’s arrest.

Cassidy was arrested in January 2019, and was originally set to stand trial in March 2020. The trial was adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rescheduled for October, when Cassidy’s lawyers sought another adjournment due to late disclosure from the Crown.

On Monday, Kenneth James Cote testified he and an employee were in La Salle delivering flyers to customers of Cote Landscaping when a vehicle started following them.

The vehicle followed Cote into Winnipeg. Cote saw a marked police cruiser on St. Mary’s Road and stopped to get help.

Cassidy, the driver of the other vehicle, stopped as well, and during a subsequent confrontation threw Cote to the ground.

Cote said Cassidy punched and kneed him in the face before a WPS officer pulled him away. He was later released without charge.

Cote didn’t report the incident to police until 15 months later.

“It took a while to find a lawyer to help me do something about this,” Cote said under cross-examination by Cassidy’s lawyer, Lisa LaBossiere. “Any lawyer I asked said no, because it involved city police… I tried everything I could.”

Cote filed a lawsuit seeking financial damages against Cassidy and the City of Winnipeg in 2019.

“You wanted money from Cassidy and the police,” LaBossiere said.

“No, I wanted justice for what happened that day,” Cote said.

LaBossiere continued to press Cote. “One of the things you are seeking is money,” she said.

“Yes,” Cote replied.

The trial resumes Wednesday.

dean.pritchard@freepress.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

History

Updated on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 6:24 AM CST: Adds image

Updated on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 9:38 AM CST: Minor copy editing changes

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