TORONTO — The Crown attorney has intervened in the case of private assault charges laid against former federal cabinet minister Julian Fantino stemming from an incident that allegedly occurred more than 40 years ago.
Fantino's lawyer Mark Sandler says his client will vigorously defend the charges of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
He says it's no coincidence the private complaint was brought forward during the federal election campaign. Fantino lost his seat last week to Liberal Francesco Sorbara in the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge.
John Bonnici has pressed charges against Fantino that date back to 1973 when the onetime veterans affairs minister was a police officer.
Sandler says the Crown will now decide whether there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and whether it's in the public interest to proceed.
The case is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 8.
Fantino was not in court.
Bonnici told the Toronto Sun he was arrested in a raid in 1973 that was overseen by Fantino, and was allegedly roughed up by officers. He also alleges an officer poured ketchup down his buttocks and further alleges Fantino spread the condiment by stroking the outside of his pants with a police baton.
None of Bonnici's allegations have been proven in court.
Police generally lay criminal charges.
But anyone who has reasonable grounds to believe someone has committed an offence can go to a Justice of the Peace or provincial court judge, who determine if a summons or warrant should be issued to compel an accused person to come to court to answer the charge.
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