Canada
Prosecution rests in Ottawa cop's jail sex-assault trial

Credits: Tony CaldwellOttawa Sun/QMI Agency

MEGAN GILLIS | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA — The Crown closed its case Friday morning against a police cellblock sergeant accused of sexually assaulting a female prisoner by snipping off her shirt and bra.

What's not yet clear is whether Sgt. Steven Desjourdy will testify or call any evidence in his own defence.
Defence lawyer Michael Edelson is expected to signal his next move when the case returns to court at noon Friday.

Judge Tim Lipson has heard from a string of police witnesses called by the Crown and seen a video of the woman's time in the cellblock over and over again.

The woman — drunk, screaming and cursing, according to police — was stopped on Rideau St. early on the morning of Sept. 6, 2008, and taken to the downtown station on a public intoxication charge.

There she was captured on video yelling and struggling with cellblock officers attempting to search her. She kicked one officer during the scuffle, in which they put her in a wrist lock, delivered knee strikes and grabbed her by the hair as she tried to swivel towards them.

She was taken to the ground where Desjourdy is seen cutting her shirt and bra from behind with a pair of safety scissors.

Desjourdy wrote in a report at the time that he did it to complete the search of her upper body and prevent her from hanging herself with her clothing.

The Crown alleges it was an act of power aimed at punishing and humiliating the woman.

The woman didn't testify at the trial. Instead, her statement to the province's civilian police watchdog — much of it contested by the defence — was entered into evidence.

A judge threw out criminal charges alleging the woman — who can't be named — assaulted the female officer, calling her treatment in the cellblock "appalling."

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