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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: Witness Cannot Be Trusted, Lawyer For Ex-officer Says
Title:CN ON: Witness Cannot Be Trusted, Lawyer For Ex-officer Says
Published On:2012-01-19
Source:National Post (Canada)
Fetched On:2012-01-21 06:02:31

A lawyer for one of five former Toronto drug squad officers charged
in a 14-year-old conspiracy case attacked the Crown's lead witness
Wednesday, painting Christopher Quigley as an untrustworthy criminal
who concocted false allegations against police.

Lawyer John Rosen, who represents retired officer John Schertzer,
hammered away at the character of Mr. Quigley, 46, the alleged victim
of a brutal police beating and robbery in the spring of 1998. Mr.
Rosen suggested the witness was attempting to play down his past
involvement in the illegal drug trade, despite evidence of an
extravagant lifestyle that included paying cash for a flashy yellow
Land Rover and sporting a $30,000 watch.

Mr. Quigley has accused the drug squad of stealing more than half of
$54,000 in cash seized from a safety deposit box after his 1998
arrest, though the defendants dispute the amount seized. Under
cross-examination Wednesday, Mr. Quigley maintained the majority of
those funds came from a massive insurance payout for a lost diamond ring.

"That story... is as false as the rest of your story," Mr. Rosen asserted.

"I'm not going to agree to that," Mr. Quigley said quietly.

Mr. Rosen asked why, if the insurance cheque was "clean money," the
witness would cash it and stash the funds in a safety deposit box
containing drug money.

"It would all become tainted with the proceeds of crime," Mr. Rosen said.

"That was not my intention," Mr. Quigley responded.

Along with Mr. Schertzer, Steven Correia, Nebojsa Maodus, Joseph
Miched and Raymond Pollard are accused of conspiring to attempt to
obstruct justice by falsifying police records and giving false
testimony. Several of the former drug squad members are further
charged with assaulting and robbing drug dealers.

In a series of volatile exchanges that spanned the whole day, Mr.
Rosen heaped heavy skepticism on Mr. Quigley's version of events,
though he had yet to touch on the alleged beating Mr. Quigley
received at 53 Division after being arrested for possessing stolen sunglasses.

The defence lawyer instead questioned Mr. Quigley's contention that
his work as a self-employed gemstone trader accounted for a
significant portion of his cash inflow, even though he had no GST
number, no formal training in the trade and never filed tax returns
for monies earned.

"I lost a lot and I gained some too," Mr. Quigley explained.

Mr. Rosen also hypothesized on why Mr. Quigley described a pair of
alligator boots allegedly stolen from his home by police as costing
"more than $400 when they were actually valued at $2,500.

"You don't want to look like a drug dealer who lives off the fat of
the land," Mr. Rosen contended.

Mr. Quigley denied the suggestion, saying he used the $400-plus
figure to describe what he had actually paid for the boots after a
hefty discount from a friend.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Rosen took the court through Mr. Quigley's
history as a "troubled teenager" who first ran afoul of the law after
being found with a cache of weapons - the witness says they were not
his - that included nunchucks, mace, a police-style baton and a set
of brass knuckles.

Years later, Mr. Quigley was convicted of obstructing a peace officer
after giving a false name to police when he was caught speeding on a
jetski at Wasaga Beach in the summer of 1996.

Mr. Rosen's cross-examination resumes Thursday.
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