The long history of police officers beating homicide charges in Canada came to an early crisis in 1945, after a jury convicted two Mounties, Fernand Savard and Roger Lizotte, of the manslaughter of Georges Guénette, whom they tried to arrest outside Quebec City, but shot as he fled.
On final appeal to the Supreme Court, the men were freed when the jury’s verdict was ruled illegal, in part because the victim was only shot once, and there was no evidence the officers had a common wrongful intent.
As Ontario prepares for the latest episode, with a Toronto police officer charged Monday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an 18-year-old man in July, it is worth recalling that virtually every similar case has ended in dismissed charges, acquittal, or in rare cases, acquittal on appeal.
Police officers have been jailed for crimes, but when the alleged crime happens on…
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