Accused cop will pass fourth anniversary on paid leave
The much-delayed disciplinary trial of a Hamilton police inspector accused of having porn on his computer and sex on the job will take nearly another nine months to start – by which time he will have been on paid suspension for more than four years.
Hearing officer Robert Fitches today agreed to begin Insp. David Doel’s trial on Nov. 25 after rejecting a motion by the officer’s lawyer, Harry Black, asking him to recuse – or remove – himself as adjudicator.
The fall date was the earliest mutually available date for Black and prosecutor Lynda Bordeleau, lawyer for Hamilton police
Fitches’ 15-page ruling, which took about 45 minutes to read aloud, rejected Black’s assertion he showed bias in October when he dismissed a motion to exclude evidence against Doel on the basis that his Charter privacy rights were breached by investigating officers.
Black had sought a closed, pre-trial session to make arguments on why evidence taken from Doel’s computer should be ruled inadmissible.
But Fitches ruled that Black had failed to provide enough evidence to support the alleged Charter breach despite previously being directed to either do so or face having the motion dismissed.
“Using a ruling as the basis for a recusal motion seems inappropriate to me,” the retired OPP superintendent said, adding Black is still free to argue Charter issues during the trial.
“The (October) ruling itself might be wrong, and if it is wrong, there are appropriate ways to deal with that by having it reviewed by another higher authority.”
Afterwards, Bordeleau said the case speaks to the need to change the Police Services Act because it’s taking too long to get to trial – one that will be behind closed doors because of a written ruling by Fitches in December that an unnamed coworker and her 12-year-old son could suffer “long lasting harm” if her identity is made public.
“We need the legislative changes, in that otherwise you have hearings going on for so long it becomes a form of mockery of the process,” she said. “You work with the legislation you have, but it’s frustrating.”
Doel earned $141,790 in 2011 — the latest year for which his salary is publicly disclosed — and has been on paid suspension since Oct. 23, 2009 on 14 Police Services Act charges.
Allegations against the chief’s former quality-assurance supervisor include that he engaged in sexual activity while on duty and had “pornographic and/or inappropriate material” on his work computer.
They also allege the Dundas resident’s actions toward a female and male co-worker between September 2008 and September 2009 were “prejudicial to discipline or likely to bring discredit upon the reputation” of Hamilton police.
The trial has hit repeated delays since an initial hearing date in February of 2010, including as a result of arguments over the disclosure of evidence and Doel’s undisclosed illness in the fall of 2011 that canceled two hearing days.