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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: Drug Squad Trial Hears Account Of Brutal Beating
Title:CN ON: Drug Squad Trial Hears Account Of Brutal Beating
Published On:2012-01-18
Source:National Post (Canada)
Fetched On:2012-01-20 06:00:26

A key Crown witness in the corruption trial of five former drug squad
officers recounted details Tuesday of a vicious beating he allegedly
received while in police custody more than a decade ago.

Christopher Quigley, 46, was arrested in the spring of 1998 for
possessing stolen sunglasses. A known low-level marijuana dealer at
the time, Mr. Quigley was brought by members of the drug squad to an
interrogation room at 53 Division, where he says events took a
nightmarish turn.

"They just pulverized me," Mr. Quigley testified, recounting a series
of three severe beatings in quick succession. By the end, "I started
throwing up blood and I couldn't breathe. I was choking on my own

Mr. Quigley is the first Crown witness to testify at the joint trial
of John Schertzer, Steven Correia, Nebojsa Maodus, Joseph Miched and
Raymond Pollard. All but Mr. Correia, who is suspended, have left the

The five are accused of conspiring to attempt to obstruct justice by
falsifying police records and giving false testimony. Several are
charged with additional offences for allegedly beating and robbing
drug dealers, including Mr. Quigley.

Mr. Quigley described a pattern of assault that continued for hours as
police lobbed questions on where he had stashed his drugs and money.

"I was struck in the face by Detective Schertzer. He became extremely
angry," Mr. Quigley said. Shortly thereafter, two other drug squad
officers, including Mr. Maodus, began punching and kicking him, Mr.
Quigley testified.

Asked if he had done anything to prompt this, the witness responded:
"Nothing whatsoever."

After leaving Mr. Quigley alone for about half an hour, the defendants
unleashed a second beating, he testified.

"[They were] punching, kicking, absolutely pulverizing me. I was told
you'd better give us the information," Mr. Quigley said, noting the
attack left him semi-conscious, covered in blood and "absolutely

"I really thought I was going to die," the witness testified.

He told the court how Mr. Correia entered the room and threw some
paper towels on the floor, telling Mr. Quigley to "clean yourself up";
a brief respite before the door "flew open" once again and another
beating ensued. Mr. Quigley says he briefly lost consciousness after
slamming into a wall.

It was not until the drug squad took Mr. Quigley to a holding cell
that other uniformed officers observed his grim condition - by then,
he had started vomiting blood - and called for an ambulance, the court

Drug squad members gave a different account of the altercation in
question, the jury heard, alleging Mr. Quigley "became enraged" and
attacked an officer after hearing police had searched his mother's

Police also ransacked Mr. Quigley's own apartment, the witness
testified, even after he told the drug squad specifically where to
locate his marijuana stash, inside a dog food bag.

When he returned home, Mr. Quigley said, "it looked like a bomb had
hit," and a number of items were missing, including documents related
to his jewelry business, CDs, a $400 pair of cowboy boots and a seven-
carat sapphire valued at about $8,000.

The drug squad also obtained a search warrant for Mr. Quigley's
mother's safety deposit box, where the witness says he had stored
$54,000 in cash, mostly from an insurance settlement. Police recorded,
and ultimately returned, less than half of that figure.

Mr. Quigley initially faced a host of charges in relation to the 1998
incident, including assaulting police, but most were dropped in a plea
deal that saw him convicted of simple drug possession. The deal also
barred him from suing police for in-custody injuries.

Asked why he agreed to those terms, Mr. Quigley responded: "My lawyer
had advised me this is absolutely the best deal you're going to get."

The trial resumes Wednesday with Mr. Quigley's cross-examination.
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