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No jail time for Toronto G20 police officer convicted of assault

A Toronto police officer found guilty of assaulting a protester during the G20 summit four years ago will not serve any jail time, an Ontario judge ruled Thursday as he upheld the man’s conviction.

Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani — who sat silently in court as the decision was delivered — was convicted in September 2013 of assault with a weapon for using excessive force during the arrest of a protester on June 26, 2010.

He was sentenced to 45 days behind bars, though he was almost immediately granted bail pending an appeal.

In that appeal, Andalib-Goortani had asked for an acquittal or a new trial, but also requested if his conviction couldn’t be quashed that his sentence be changed to a discharge, suspended or that any custodial sentence be served intermittently.

His lawyer had argued the officer was acting in accordance with his training during a highly stressful and fluid situation.

Meanwhile, the Crown prosecutor had countered there was no basis for the suggestion that the trial judge had held Andalib-Goortani to a standard of perfection.

In his ruling on the appeal, Superior Court Justice Brian O’Marra upheld Andalib-Goortani’s conviction, but changed his sentence to one year of probation and 75 hours of community service.

He did not provide reasons for his judgment.

Neither Andalib-Goortani nor his lawyer offered comment on the decision.

The officer has been suspended without pay while his case worked its way through the courts. That status is now under review, said Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray.

Andalib-Goortani is one of only two officers who were criminally charged in relation to Toronto’s violence-marred G20 summit in June 2010 in which a few dozen vandals rampaged through the downtown and police made unprecedented mass arrests that drew widespread condemnation.

The judge who presided over Andalib-Goortani’s trial had found the officer hit protester Adam Nobody several times with his baton while the man was already on the ground, surrounded by other officers who were in the process of arresting him.

Nobody was offering minimal resistance and several other police officers were piled on top of him, trial judge Louise Botham found.

Botham also said Andalib-Goortani had shown no remorse and noted his name tag and badge weren’t visible during the arrest.

Nobody, who said he suffered a broken nose, a facial fracture and bruised ribs during his arrest, was in court Thursday to hear the latest decision in Andalib-Goortani’s case.

“The conviction stays, which is a great thing because now we have two judges saying he’s guilty,” he said outside court. “The probation — I would have hoped for more, I would have hoped to see him in jail. I think he deserves jail time.”

Andalib-Goortani has been acquitted in a second case related to the G20 summit because the evidence against him had been ruled inadmissible. In that case he was charged with using a weapon to assault a blogger at the Ontario legislature.

The only other officer criminally charged in relation to the G20, Const. Glenn Weddell, was previously acquitted.

Andalib-Goortani still faces an internal police disciplinary process, which is set to begin next week. He faces one count of discreditable conduct, two counts of insubordination and one count of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority.