Pubdate: Tue, 24 Sep 2002
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Sam Pazzano


Charges Dropped Because Of Crown Delays

Trafficking charges against an alleged drug kingpin who has accused police 
of stealing more than $300,000 from a bank safety deposit box were stayed 
yesterday in a development linked to the widening drug squad scandal.

Roman Paryniuk was charged with possessing almost $4 million in marijuana, 
hashish, LSD and ecstasy stemming from a March, 1999 bust but these charges 
were tossed after Justice Russell Juriansz ruled that Paryniuk, 39, had 
been deprived of his right to be tried within a reasonable time.

His lawyer Edward Sapiano was denied information on the RCMP probe into 
drug squad officers. Sapiano has alleged in court documents there was a 
"long-standing pattern" of "theft by search warrant" by central field 
command drug squad.

Paryniuk is the most notable accused of more than 150 cases where charges 
have been stayed or withdrawn because of the mushrooming probe into 
allegations of misconduct by the drug squad officers.

The judge noted there was a delay of more than 41 months, and up to 18 
months of "unjustified delay," which he blamed on both the Crown and court 

But the Crown's delay was linked to a refusal to disclose information on 
criminal prosecution against a Toronto central drug squad officer.

This is the latest development in the scandal facing Toronto's drug squad. 
A key witness against Paryniuk was Const. Mark Denton, who was cleared of a 
possession of hashish charge in February for having 145 grams in the 
undercover police van he was driving home in January, 2000.

Denton gave a statement to the OPP that he believed the hash may have come 
from the Paryniuk bust nine months earlier.

"My client has been completely vindicated and the delays were caused by the 
federal department of justice who treated, for the purpose of disclosure, 
civilians like my client differently than it does police," Sapiano said.

Paryniuk still faces charges over a $153 million hash shipment seized in 
Halifax in 1995.

Nine civil lawsuits named officers alleged to have been involved in either 
illegal acts or thefts of cash and valuables. None of the civil allegations 
have been proven in court.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth