Pubdate: Wed, 23 Aug 2017
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Nicole O'Reilly
Page: A1


Charges include fraud, bribery, trafficking

A suspended Hamilton police gangs and weapons enforcement unit officer
already awaiting trial for his alleged role in helping a drug
trafficking organization is facing 16 new criminal charges.

On Tuesday, Craig Ruthowsky was charged with bribery, two counts of
breach of trust, two counts of obstructing justice, public mischief,
two counts of weapons trafficking, fraud under $5,000, trafficking
marijuana, perjury, two counts of conspiracy to commit an indictable
offence, robbery and two counts of trafficking cocaine.

It was pre-arranged that Ruthowsky would turn himself in to a police
station Tuesday morning and then appear in a Toronto court, where he
was released on bail, his lawyer Greg Lafontaine said.

The 43-year-old is already committed to stand trial on charges of
corruptly accepting monies, attempting to obstruct justice,
trafficking cocaine and criminal breach of trust. That trial is set to
begin Feb. 20.

Lafontaine described the newest charges, which will be tried
separately, as "historical" from Ruthowsky's time as a guns and gangs
investigator in Hamilton before his suspension in 2012.

"They're effectively more of the same," he said, noting more
"full-time criminals" have come forward since Ruthowsky's criminal
case has been in the news.

Ruthowsky was arrested in a June 2015 raid by Toronto police's Project
Pharaoh and accused of being part of a Hamilton criminal group
connected to the Toronto street gang Monstarz.

He was initially denied bail and spent five weeks in jail before being

Hamilton police confirmed the latest charges in a news release issued
Tuesday afternoon but declined to comment further as the case is
before the courts.

As part of his guns and gangs investigative work, Ruthowsky worked
closely with informants in the criminal underworld. Lafontaine said
dealing with people "at the bottom of the social barrel" was a hazard
of the work Ruthowsky did and left him vulnerable to these types of

Ruthowsky was "disappointed" to learn of the new charges, but he and
his legal team feel "confident" they will prove his innocence,
Lafontaine said, questioning the credibility of Crown witnesses.

Mark Dobrowski says at least one of the new charges is related to
allegations Ruthowsky had an informant set him up with a gun in his
former home.

Dobrowski says he served 51 months in prison after police found a gun
in his then Violet Drive home near Barton Street East and Centennial
Parkway North on April 30, 2010. He was sentenced to four years, three
months and 20 days on Nov. 5, 2010.

Dobrowski admits to being a former leader of the gang Original Blood
Brothers and has a criminal record.

"I was a bad person. I'm out of the lifestyle now," he said

He said Hamilton police officially informed him Ruthowsky had been
charged Tuesday morning.

"I lost a lot of time in my life ... nothing can bring it

Dobrowski said he's meeting with lawyers and intends to file a

Ruthowsky remains suspended with pay.

Hamilton police first suspended him in June 2012 amid an investigation
into allegations he improperly disclosed licence plate information
from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).

He was charged with breach of trust and obstructing justice, but those
criminal charges were stayed in October 2013 over concern the case
could identify an informant.

The related disciplinary case was still pending when Toronto police
burst through his door and arrested him in June 2015.

Ruthowsky's former partner, Robert Hansen, was suspended and charged
at the same time in 2012.

He was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice after he
encouraged an informant to plant a gun at a suspected drug
trafficker's home in 2012 and then lied to secure a search warrant.

Hansen was sentenced in June 2016 to five years in prison and resigned
that August.

The man targeted by Hansen filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against him
and Hamilton police. Darren Mork's lawyer, Nick Cake, said they are
working toward setting a trial date.

Anyone with information about the Ruthowsky case is asked to contact
Det. Troy Ashbaugh at 905546-4951.
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