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CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Corruption and disobedience - Breach of trust - Obstruction of justice

Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 8:46 AM  

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Trial of Levesque, charged with attempting to obstruct justice and committing breach of trust. Levesque was the Thunder Bay Chief of Police. The charges stemmed from information he provided to the mayor of Thunder Bay, Hobbs, in December 2016, regarding a criminal investigation into allegations of extortion against Hobbs. The Crown took the position that by intentionally informing Hobbs that he was the subject of an investigation, Levesque interfered with the administration of justice and intentionally attempted to obstruct justice or was wilfully blind to the consequences of having told Hobbs about the investigation. The Crown further submitted that Levesque used his office as the chief of police for a purpose other than for the public good and was intentionally partial to Hobbs rather than his duty to the Thunder Bay Police Services. Levesque did not deny that he provided Hobbs with certain information. However, the defence took the position that Levesque’s motivation had nothing to do with interfering with the police investigation. Rather, Levesque was concerned that Hobbs would cause problems for the new deputy police chief while Levesque was on vacation. The defence submitted that it was within Levesque’s discretion to decide what information he would disseminate and to whom. Finally, the defence submitted that even if Levesque overstepped the bounds of his discretion, he did not do so with any illegal intent.

HELD: Levesque found not guilty. None of the Crown witnesses testified that they believed Levesque was acting with the intent to obstruct justice and there was no direct evidence to support that allegation. The preponderance of evidence supported Levesque’s position that he exercised his discretion for the reasons he provided. The Court accepted that Levesque was acting in good faith when he spoke with Hobbs and the exercise of his discretion was not improper. Levesque intended his actions to be for the good of the city of Thunder Bay and the public.

R. v. Levesque, [2018] O.J. No. 475, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, B. Warkentin R.S.J., January 25, 2018. Digest No. TLD-Mar52018004