04/20/2015 14:07 EDT | Updated 06/20/2015 01:12 EDT

Court lengthens cops' sentences to emphasize 'special duty' police owe to system

TORONTO - Ontario's highest court has dismissed an appeal from five former Toronto police officers convicted of attempting to obstruct justice.The ruling from the Court of Appeal said police officers owe a "special duty" to be faithful to the justice system.The officers, who were members of the Toronto police drug squad, had been sentenced to a 45-day conditional sentence in the case which stemmed from an incident in 1998.The key issue at the officers' trial had been the timing of a search of a suspect's apartment.The Crown alleged that the officers falsified their notes and some gave false testimony to conceal the fact that they searched the apartment before a search warrant physically arrived at the location.The officers maintained they did not search the residence until after the warrant arrived.When the officers appealed their convictions, the Crown cross-appealed their sentences as unfit, saying a three-year sentence was appropriate.The Court of Appeal agreed with the Crown, saying the original 45-day conditional sentences "do not reflect society's condemnation of the conduct."The appeal court ordered a three-year sentence instead, however, given the passage of time since the original sentences were imposed in January 2013, it ruled the new sentences should be stayed.