Beric apologizes in court and his lawyer asks for conditional release

Ontario Court Justice Janet O’Brien is expected to hand down the ruling later this month.

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Const. Ottawa police officer suspended. Goran Beric apologized in court Monday as his attorney asked the judge to grant him probation, saying a conviction and prison term on Beric’s assault charges would “guarantee” the end of Beric’s police career. agent.

Ontario Court Justice Janet O’Brien is expected to hand down the sentence later this month after hearing submissions on Monday from defense lawyer Karin Stein and Crown prosecutor Vlatko Karadzic, who asked the judge to impose a suspended sentence of four to six months, including a period of house arrest and curfew, followed by one year of probation.

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Beric is now the subject of an internal affairs investigation and has been suspended from the force since October, when he was found guilty of assaulting a man while on duty during a takedown on August 4, 2021 inside a community housing complex in Ottawa.

Beric told the judge he was “ashamed” of his conduct and apologized for the negative impact the case has had on his family and his colleagues in the Ottawa Police Service.

“I will always be disappointed in myself and wish I had handled the matter better,” Beric said from his attorney’s office in a virtual hearing Monday. “I still think about it every day. I wish I could have handled it differently, done better… in every way, physically and verbally. And I have learned from this situation. “I don’t take it lightly.”

Beric was convicted of assaulting a man who was in the midst of a psychotic break and was already bleeding profusely when police arrived at the Bronson Avenue complex. In surveillance video shown during the trial, Beric is seen hitting him with his baton and stepping on the prone man’s neck for two minutes and five seconds.

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The victim, Derrick Weyman, said the assault made him feel “dehumanized” in a shocking statement through his lawyer, Kate Irwin.

“As an officer he should help me, but he made me feel less human because of the way he treated me that night,” Weyman wrote. “I have a hard time remembering that night… I woke up in the hospital with a head injury and I still have headaches.”

Stein said Beric did not cause Weyman’s injuries with his “short, quick” baton strikes, and argued there was no malicious intent in the assault, citing Beric’s clean disciplinary record, positive performance evaluations and letters of praise. from the public and other officials. .

Beric, his attorney said, is “a compassionate and respectful officer who is best known for his calm and appropriate manner with people…praised by the public and his fellow officers for how he has handled difficult situations.

“He is, by all indications, a good officer,” Stein said. “For someone who has been with the Ottawa Police Service since 2006, this seems exceptional.”

Karadzic acknowledged that the baton blows “were not full force,” but argued that there were aggravating factors in the assault. The victim was in an “acute state of vulnerability” when Beric punched Weyman several times in an area of ​​his head that was already bleeding.

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“He used the baton in a manner completely contrary to the training given to police officers,” Karadzic argued, saying it violated public trust and the “standard of care” expected of the profession.

Both Stein and Karadzic acknowledged the “collateral consequences” the sentence will have on Beric’s police career.

“In terms of (the judge’s) deliberations here today, we all know that it is up to the police service to determine what happens to Mr. Beric going forward, regardless of what the sentence is,” Stein said. “Obviously, it is recognized that if he receives a conviction … he is likely to lose his job, or if he receives a prison sentence, it is virtually certain that he will lose his job.”

Karadzic said it is a “certainty” that a criminal conviction would disqualify the officer from future employment under the provisions of the Police Services Act, although it would be discretionary in the case of a suspended sentence (or probation).

“That’s ultimately up to the Police Services Board and those procedures, and it’s a collateral consequence of this trial,” Karadzic said.

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Stein asked the judge to release Beric from serving any part of a possible prison sentence.

“Sending a police officer to a real jail always comes with additional (consideration),” Stein said. “We all know the difficulties police officers have when serving a prison sentence.”

He asked the judge to instead grant probation, asking O’Brien to consider “the nature of the assault, how the use of force unfolded in this case” and the “tremendous” negative impact on O’Brien’s personal life. Beric after the video. was released to the media.

“This is not a situation that requires Mr. Beric’s separation from society,” Stein said. “He is not a danger to society.”

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