NEWS

Witnesses in corruption trial struggle to remember

01/26/2012 04:40 EST | Updated 03/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Two witnesses in the corruption trial of five former Toronto drug squad officers said Thursday they had little to no recollection of their involvement with a decade-old allegation of police brutality.

Thursday's testimony dealt again with the allegations made by Christopher Quigley, who claims he was savagely beaten by drug squad officers while in custody at 53 Division near Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue in 1998.

The court heard that Const. Marc Lefebvre — a police officer who worked at 53 Division in 1998 and is not charged in the case — accompanied Quigley to Sunnybrook Hospital.

Lefebvre testified that he couldn't remember anything about the incident — so the jury heard him read from his notebook instead. The notebook was the sort all police officers are obligated to keep, detailing as accurately as possible what they do and observe while on duty.

Lefebvre wrote down that though a use-of-force report stated only that Quigley was bleeding from his nose, the officer saw him bleeding from the head, throwing up blood and struggling to breathe.

He also wrote in his memo book that he heard Quigley tell the nurse at Sunnybrook, "They beat the s--t out of me. That's what happened."

Under cross-examination, Lefebvre testified that he had no way of knowing when those injuries happened or how Quigley was behaving at the time because he hadn't made a note of it.

Bruce Olmsted, Quigley's lawyer at the time, also testified Thursday that he remembered little from the incident.

Olmsted said radiation and chemotherapy treatments have affected his long-term memory.

The massive trial, which is expected to last seven months, has five officers facing charges of obstructing justice, perjury, assault and extortion in relation to a series of incidents in which it's alleged they beat up and robbed drug dealers and then lied to cover it up.

Quigley was on the stand for six days earlier this month. He testified that officers beat, kicked and choked him, demanding to know where to find his drugs and cash. And he alleged that officers also stole thousands of dollars from his mother's safety deposit box.

The defence lawyers have not disputed that some sort of altercation happened. But they suggest it was only after Quigley lashed out after learning police had been to his mother's house.

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