TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - After spending five years, three months, and twenty days in prison for crimes he did not commit, a Parkdale man who was acquitted of all charges has filed a $4.5 million damages suit against Toronto police and the five officers he claims are largely responsible for his wrongful conviction.
"This is another case that raises serious concerns about the conduct and credibility of Toronto's police force," said Michael Smitiuch, of Smitiuch Injury Law PC, the lawyer representing 36-year-old Nosakhare Ohenhen. "This is about the malicious disregard for a young man's rights by those who are supposed to be upholding the law, not enforcing their own system of justice."
In 2010, Nosakhare Ohenhen was convicted of 17 charges including possession of cocaine, possession of a restricted firearm and assaulting a police officer following his 2008 arrest in Parkdale. He was sentenced to nine years in prison, with credit for time served while awaiting trial. Ohenhen was released in 2013. The Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in 2015, and this past September, an Ontario Superior Court Justice acquitted Ohenhen of all charges.
Ohenhen's retrial was heard by Justice Michael G. Quigley. After reviewing the evidence, he found that the testimony of the officers handling the case was neither credible nor reliable, noting it was riddled with inconsistencies and memory lapses. In Justice Quigley's opinion, "The inability to trust the evidence of the officers aggravates the gravity of the violations and the very distinct possibility that the police planted drugs on Mr. Ohenhen …" In acquitting Ohenhen of all charges, Justice Quigley concluded that there were no legitimate grounds for police to stop or arrest him and that Ohenhen's arbitrary detention, unreasonable search, and denial of counsel was a brazen and blatant violation of his constitutional rights.
Smitiuch alleges in the Statement of Claim that the conduct of police was reckless and exploitive, and that they misused their power and their office.
"While Nosa can't get back those five years of his life, it's not too late to right a terrible wrong," added Smitiuch. "Toronto police need to be held to a much higher moral standard so that what happened to this young man, doesn't happen to someone else."
SOURCE Smitiuch Injury Law PC
For further information: Michael Smitiuch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-621-1551; Danna O'Brien, email@example.com, 416-500-0699