Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jan 2012
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Sam Pazzano, Toronto Sun


An elite group of Toronto drug squad officers intimidated drug 
dealers, stole their money and lied in courts to escape "the reach of 
the law," the Crown alleged Monday.

"They engaged in unjustified acts of physical violence against people 
in their custody," prosecutor John Pearson told a jury in a three-hour 
opening statement for the long-awaited trial of five former members of 
the Central Field Command.

John Schertzer, 54, Steve Correia, 44, Ned Maodus, 48, Joseph Miched, 
53, and Raymond Pollard, 47, collectively face 29 charges - laid in 
January 2004 - including obstructing justice, perjury, assault and 
extortion related to their work between 1997 and 2002.

Each has pleaded not guilty to all the charges which are linked to 
five drug investigations.

"The defendants tried to cover their tracks to protect themselves from 
the reach of the law," he said.

They falsified notes to conceal illegal searches, withheld vital 
information from the drug cases they were investigating and they lied 
in court, Pearson said.

The first victim, part-time pot dealer Christopher Quigley testified 
Monday how he was pummeled into unconsciousness by Maodus and his 
partner, under the watchful eye of their "boss" Schertzer.

Court heard that on April 30, 1998, Quigley, 46, left police custody 
with a bloody nose, sore ribs and a forehead gash that required 
stitches to close it. Photos of his battered face were displayed in court.

Schertzer watched while Maodus and other officers inflicted a lengthy 
attack on Quigley to extort information from him about where he hid 
his drugs and money, Pearson alleged.

While Quigley was detained, drug squad cops obtained warrants to 
search both his and his mom's north Toronto home, he said.

When they searched his mother's residence, they discovered she was 
holding his cash in a bank safety deposit box, Pearson said.

Schertzer and Correia subsequently seized about $54,000 from the 
safety deposit box, but reported seizing only $22,850, the prosecutor said.

Police alleged "upon hearing the news of his mother's home being 
searched, Quigley became violent and punched one of the officers, 
which caused Maodus and another officer to restrain Quigley," thus 
causing these injuries, said Pearson.
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