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Six Nations officers found not guilty on all counts

A jury has found two Six Nations Police Service officers not guilty of forcible entry, forcible confinement and assault after they exigently entered a property while investigating a brutal beating in 2010, says Toronto criminal lawyer Joseph Neuberger. Read Brantford Expositor

Sgt. Tim Bomberry and Cst. Marwood White pleaded not guilty to the charges in the case, which hinged on whether the two officers were legally justified in entering the home without a warrant after the assault.  See Prior Story 

"We are very pleased with the verdict," says Neuberger, who represented White. "To my knowledge, this was a first in that an officer was charged for searching a crime scene in order to preserve the destruction of evidence, where there were grounds for the search but no warrant was obtained. This case could have sent a chill through policing across the country had there not been acquittals."

In January 2010, four police officers – Bomberry and White from Six Nations and two from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) – conducted a joint investigation into the assault of Ross Martin, said Neuberger, partner with Neuberger Rose LLP. Concerned that evidence was going to be destroyed after the attack, the officers entered a Six Nations home under exigent circumstances and when confronted with an aggressive man, White used a Taser to control him, he continued.

The man, Landon Curley, then made a complaint to the OPP about the use of force, and charges were laid. Both Bomberry and White were charged with forcible entry and forcible confinement while White was charged with assault with a Taser.

Disturbed by Martin’s beating and concerned he may die, the two officers acted in good faith, argued Neuberger, who represented White, noting they did the right thing by acting quickly out of concern that valuable evidence could be lost.

While outlining instructions to the jury earlier this week, Justice Harrison Arrell said, "Police are legally allowed to enter a house with a warrant (or) if they have exigent circumstances - a name or label that describes ... the conditions that exist that would allow a warrant but it would be impractical to obtain a warrant," the Brantford Expositor reports.  Read Brantford Expositor

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