Pubdate: Mon, 30 Apr 2012
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell


A Toronto police officer allegedly conducted a sham kidnapping
investigation to protect those he suspected were involved, an Ontario
Superior Court jury has heard.

Prosecutors opened their case Monday against Toronto police Const.
Ioan-Florin (John) Floria, who has pleaded not guilty to six charges,
including breach of trust, accessory after the fact to kidnapping,
attempt to obstruct justice and money laundering.

Several of the charges stem from the actions or "inactions" of the
veteran Toronto police officer in relation to two unrelated
kidnappings, Crown attorney James Palangio told jurors.

The first alleged kidnapping happened Nov. 16, 2005. The victim,
Simion Ternar, was working at a marijuana grow-op tending plants when
he was kidnapped leaving a gym in Toronto's east-end. He was tortured
for 24 hours and released after a $200,000 ransom was paid.

Ternar contacted Floria, who was from the same hometown in Romania,
Palangio said.

The Crown alleges Floria, who joined the Toronto Police Service in
1998, told Ternar not to report the crime nor seek medical attention
because the police might be involved. He also misleadingly told Ternar
he would conduct an investigation into the kidnapping, Palangio said.

At some point, Floria asked Ternar if he thought Stefan Karpacs was
involved. Ternar said no, though he was aware he was the head of a
criminal organization and close friend of the officer's, the
prosecutor said.

"At a minimum he should have suspected and perhaps even known his
friends were involved," said Palangio, adding Floria derailed the
investigation out of a "sense of loyalty."

A year later, Ternar contacted a lawyer, who instructed him to go to
the Toronto Police professional standards office and report what
happened, the Crown attorney said.

The kidnapping remains unsolved.

About five weeks after the first kidnapping, a couple attending a
party at a northwest Toronto restaurant were thrown into a van,
whisked away and beaten.

A witness who knew Floria contacted him and told him what happened.
Floria told him to call police but did not report the matter himself,
Palangio said.

Coincidentally, Floria was enlisted to help investigators on the case
interpret text messages in Romanian. Floria advised he was aware of
the incident because he was told about it the previous day. The lead
investigator "was surprised to say the least," Palangio said.

The victims were released with serious injuries. Two men have been
convicted in the kidnapping and given lengthy prison terms.

The Crown also alleges Floria laundered $50,000 U.S. for a friend that
he knew came from the drug trade and made unauthorized use of a police
computer database. Floria, who worked in 21 and 22 divisions before
traffic services, was charged in July 2007.

The trial continues Tuesday.
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