Pubdate: Fri, 30 May 2003
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Sam Pazzano, Courts Bureau
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Judge Rules Officers Violated Dealer's Rights

A notorious drug dealer known as "Jimmy the Little Millionaire" had charges 
against him tossed out of court after a judge ruled police violated his 
rights and beat him during his arrest.

"The breaches of his rights are so egregious that it would be contrary to 
the fairness of the trial to allow the evidence to be admitted," wrote 
Justice Joseph Bovard in a judgment clearing Vincenzo "James" Pitaro, 55, 
of trafficking and possession of heroin charges. Bovard agreed with 
Pitaro's lawyer Howard Goldkind, ruling the ounce of heroin Toronto Police 
found on Pitaro, as he was walking home in September 2001, was taken 
through an illegal search, therefore inadmissible and the arrest arbitrary.

Consts. Jason Goss and Ono Ferlisi arrested Pitaro after Goss suspected he 
possessed marijuana or was involved in a rash of burglaries in the Christie 
Pits area.

Bovard rejected the officers' testimony, stating, "the facts as I find them 
are that Mr. Pitaro was not doing anything that objectively speaking could 
be called suspicious or illegal.

"The police had no reason to detain him and they did so on a phantom of 

"Officer Goss was on a fishing expedition. In Canada it is perfectly 
alright to take a walk down the street on which one lives even if it's 3:24 

Pitaro, an insomniac who often walks in the early morning, said he bought 
the heroin.

Goss used a leg takedown on Pitaro as he "flailed and kicked violently" in 
resisting being arrested and searched. Pitaro told the officers they had 
"no probable cause."

Pitaro quoted Goss as saying, "probable cause, I'll show you probable 
cause," as the cop punched him. Pitaro was hospitalized for a few days with 
a "large bump on his left temple that swelled out about two to three inches."

"The violence visited upon on Mr. Pitaro in arresting him was completely 
unjustifiable. It is very hard to believe that a seasoned police officer of 
Officer Goss' size would have to resort to such force in subduing such a 
small, weak man as Pitaro," Bovard stated.

Goss is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds while Pitaro is 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds.

The judge dismissed the officers' account that Pitaro pulled the heroin out 
of his pocket and dropped it in front of the cops.

Pitaro has a long criminal record for cocaine trafficking, fraud and theft, 
dating back to 1977.
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