HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html OPP Officer Lied To Get Wiretaps
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Jul 2004
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2004 Southam Inc.
Author: Shannon Kari, CanWest News Service
Bookmark: (Corruption - Outside U.S.)


Detective Arrested For Role In Crackdown On Satan's

TORONTO - A senior Ontario Provincial Police officer faces criminal
charges for allegedly lying under oath to get approval for wiretaps in
a province-wide crackdown on the Satan's Choice biker gang.

Detective Sergeant John Cavanaugh was arrested yesterday and charged
with two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice
after an RCMP investigation. The 28-year veteran also faces two
internal Police Act charges of deceit and discreditable conduct, laid
by the OPP.

The officer was permitted to surrender at an RCMP detachment and
released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance in Toronto

The alleged misconduct by Det. Sgt. Cavanaugh resulted in the
acquittals of four Toronto men accused of being drug suppliers to the
Satan's Choice, after a scathing ruling by an Ontario Superior Court
judge last September.

Justice John Macdonald said he was required to exclude wiretap
evidence to protect the process "from such deliberate and serious abuse."

The judge found Det. Sgt. Cavanaugh lied to five different Superior
Court judges in sworn statements made to get approval for wiretaps in
the late-1990s investigation known as Project Dismantle.

The officer lied during his testimony at the preliminary hearing and
destroyed evidence that was required to be disclosed to the defence,
the judge concluded. "The oath to tell the truth was close to
meaningless to Detective Cavanaugh," Judge Macdonald said in his ruling.

The Orillia-based officer, who was a member of the OPP's Technical
Support Operations Unit, has been assigned to administrative duties
for the past 10 months. He has been suspended with pay as a result of
the criminal charges.

"We acted right away," OPP Superintendent Bill Crate said yesterday.
The police spokesman said the OPP called in the RCMP to investigate
immediately after it learned of the judge's findings.

The OPP has also launched an internal "quality assurance review" of
how it conducts wiretap applications and determines which officers
should serve in these units.

"For the most part, we have to rely upon the honesty of our officers,"
said Supt. Crate, who stressed the OPP believes this was an "isolated

"It was obvious that Justice Macdonald was shocked and that was
reflected in his judgment," said Toronto lawyer John Hill, who
represented one of the defendants.

"I don't think Det. Cavanaugh is a bad person. I think he is a good
person. But this is the problem we have in the justice system when the
focus is on conviction and shortcuts are taken."

A statement released yesterday by the RCMP listed the charges and said
only that the investigation required a "co-operative effort between
law enforcement and the Crown to assure the public of the integrity of
our justice system." An RCMP spokeswoman said it would not be
appropriate to make further comment at this time.

Project Dismantle was a co-ordinated investigation between the OPP and
police in Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, Sudbury and Thunder Bay in an
attempt to "dismantle" Satan's Choice. Several dozen people were
arrested in a June, 1997, raid. However, no one was convicted of a
criminal offence as a result of the investigation.
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