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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: 'I Was Tortured,' Crown Witness Testifies in Corruption
Title:CN ON: 'I Was Tortured,' Crown Witness Testifies in Corruption
Published On:2012-01-20
Source:National Post (Canada)
Fetched On:2012-01-22 06:00:26

The man accusing former Toronto drug squad officers of "torture"
during an encounter 14 years ago provoked a fight that day, and has
since exaggerated the extent of his injuries, a defence lawyer
suggested Thursday.

In a tense cross-examination that at times degenerated into a
shouting match - prompting a Superior Court judge to repeatedly
intervene - key Crown witness Christopher Quigley found himself on
the defensive about virtually every aspect of his story, which stems
from an altercation with police dating back to the spring of 1998.

Mr. Quigley, 46, alleges members of the drug squad viciously
assaulted him inside 53 Division before stealing tens of thousands of
dollars he had stashed in his mother's safety deposit box.

John Rosen, the lawyer for defendant John Schertzer, advanced another
theory, saying the case was "all about money" for Mr. Quigley.

"When you heard that your mother gave up that safety deposit box...
you went berserk," Mr. Rosen said, suggesting the witness responded
with violence toward a member of the drug squad - that particular
member is not on trial - and incited a fight that led to his injuries.

"That is the biggest lie on planet Earth," Mr. Quigley shot back.

"He had to restrain you and it was in the course of that that you got
injured," Mr. Rosen continued.

"That never happened, and we both know that," Mr. Quigley testified.

The volatile exchange came on the second day of Mr. Quigley's
cross-examination at the high-profile corruption trial of five former
drug squad officers. Mr. Schertzer, Steven Correia, Nebojsa Maodus,
Joseph Miched and Raymond Pollard are accused of a wide-ranging
conspiracy that allegedly involved beating and robbing drug dealers
and falsifying police records.

A low-level marijuana dealer at the time, Mr. Quigley, who was
arrested after being found with a bag of stolen sunglasses, said he
was subsequently taken to 53 Division, where he was beaten and
questioned relentlessly about the location of his drug stash and money.

"I wasn't assaulted. I was tortured," Mr. Quigley told the court.

Throughout Thursday's cross-examination, Mr. Rosen cast doubt on Mr.
Quigley's contention that police "pulverized" him to the point where
he was choking on blood when he arrived hours later in a holding
cell, prompting uniformed officers to anxiously call for an
ambulance. Mr. Rosen pointed to 53 Division's prisoner log, showing
it was a full hour and a half from when the witness arrived in the
cell to when he was transported to Sunnybrook hospital.

When Mr. Quigley arrived at the emergency room triage station around
5:15 a.m. on May 1, 1998, it was another full hour until he saw a
doctor, Mr. Rosen pointed out. A barrage of tests, including a CAT
scan, showed there was nothing wrong with Mr. Quigley internally, Mr.
Rosen said, suggesting the only noteworthy injuries included a few
stitches on his forehead, a hairline crack on his spine and bruising
"consistent with being forcefully arrested because you were resisting."

"That's an absolute lie," Mr. Quigley responded, citing a series of
photographs that show his condition a day after being released. In
the pictures, the witness is seen with blackened, puffy eyes and a
variety of cuts and bruises over his face and body. He says at the
worst of it, he was vomiting and urinating blood.

Mr. Quigely grew visibly agitated at Mr. Rosen's implications.

"You're so far afield, you're in another planet now, sir," Mr.
Quigley asserted.

Earlier in the day, the court heard that Mr. Quigley lied to those
closest to him about the circumstances of his alleged beating by
police, telling his girlfriend the violence ensued after he was
stopped for speeding, and telling his father police had entered his
home to look for drugs and assaulted him.

"You were lying to the people closest to you as to exactly what
happened," Mr. Rosen asserted.

"Incorrect. Absolutely incorrect," the witness testified.

The trial continues.
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