Accounting for Law

Video evidence in jail guard assault case X-factor in acquittal

Two Don Jail guards acquitted of assault recently were just doing their jobs and the video evidence of the event in question was what the judge relied heavily on to acquit, says criminal lawyer John Rosen, counsel for Operations Manager Mark Moore.

Moore and Correctional Officer Ian Johnson showed signs of happiness when Justice Alphonse Lacavera finished reading his verdict, the Toronto Star reports.

“We were doing what we were trained to do,” Moore told the Star. “I’m happy to see an end. It’s been two and a half years of suffering and punishment for no reason.”

Rosen, senior partner with Rosen Naster LLP, tells that Moore is very relieved.  “He’s been under tremendous stress since charges were brought.  His status with the Ministry of Correctional Services is still in question.  He and the co-accused were just doing their jobs.  The jail video of the area for the most part showed what happened, but not perfectly.”

According to Rosen, Moore did not need to testify because the prosecution had failed to make a case against his client.  However, in the absence of absent his client’s evidence, the trial judge went on to note that the security camera footage did not capture Moore’s actions clearly but showed the officer making a stomping motion.  “The video leads me to believe that Moore was probably using excessive force [at that point], but I am not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt,” said the judge.

The court heard testimony that the former inmate that caused the Code Blue for all available guards to attend and defuse a situation, was “violent, disruptive, aggressive and unpredictable” and had an “anti-authoritative attitude.”

“The staff have a thankless job,” says Rosen. “They deal with all kinds of people but are required to be fair to everyone. It’s a very difficult job and it’s in some ways a thankless task, particularly because of the attitude of some of the inmates who give staff a lot of grief and sometimes put them in untenable positions.”

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