Credits: Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun / QMI Agency
Former sergeant John Schertzer, 54, "road boss" Raymond Pollard, 48, Joseph Miched, 54, Steve Correia, 45, and Ned Maodus, 49 -- who were convicted in June 2012 of attempting to obstruct justice -- conducted an illegal search of Scarborough heroin dealer Ho Bing Pang's apartment in February 1998.
Pollard, Correia and Maodus were also convicted of perjury for giving bogus testimony to back up falsified entries about the events in their notebooks.
"No other police officer would willingly trade places with any of these accused," Justice Gladys Pardu said Friday in Ontario's largest courtroom packed with 100 police supporters.
"The process in itself constitutes an enormous deterrent to any officer tempted to cut corners or lie under oath," Pardu said. "Their lives have been ruined, and for what gain? Cutting a work-day short by a couple of hours.
"The impact of the prolonged (nine-year) proceedings on their lives has been catastrophic."
She noted the comments on the case -- once touted in the media as the largest police corruption case in Canada -- "amounted to hyperbolic vilification" that fell far short of the cops' convictions. There was no "pattern of criminal misconduct (beyond the search) and no history of findings of misconduct under the Police Act," Pardu said.
The cops "short-circuited the constitutional rights of the defendants," whom they had caught "red-handed" selling two ounces of heroin, she noted.
Their deceit wasn't perpetrated "to cover up collateral misconduct, such as assault, theft, extortion or the planting of drugs," Pardu stated.
The stay-at-home sentence permits Schertzer, Pollard, Miched and Maodus -- who have all resigned from the police service -- to keep working outside the home.
But the conditional sentence will cost Correia, 45, who remains a member of the Toronto Police Service. As of Friday he is now suspended without pay and awaiting a Police Services Act tribunal after his appeal.
No Toronto police officer who received either a custodial or conditional sentence has kept his job, Correia's lawyer Harry Black said.
But the officers were acquitted of all the serious allegations -- that they robbed, beat up dealers and then conspired to cover up their crimes.
Retired RCMP chief Supt. John Neily, who led the task force that once employed 35 officers on this case, said, "The Crown showed tremendous tenacity, so did the investigative team in the face of a lot of challenges.
"It's an ugly business. It's not a business about making friends," Neily said.