TORONTO – Julian Fantino’s lawyer “absolutely denies” the assault charges levelled against the former Toronto police chief, and implied the allegation was an attempt to smear his client during the recent federal election campaign.
Mark Sandler appeared in court on Fantino’s behalf Tuesday to respond to a recent allegation of assault causing bodily harm, stemming from an arrest in 1973, when Fantino served with Toronto police.
“He absolutely denies any wrongdoing in connection with this matter,” Sandler said.
“It allegedly happened 42 years ago and in our view, it’s not a coincidence that this private complaint was brought forward during the election process.”
Sandler added Fantino will “vigorously defend himself against the allegations if they ever do come to court and proceed to trial.”
Retired construction worker John Bonnici levelled the charge against Fantino on October 1, alleging that Fantino was among a group of officers who assaulted him during an arrest in 1973.
Bonnici alleged that an officer poured ketchup down his buttocks and further alleges Fantino spread the condiment by stroking the outside of his pants with a police baton.
None of Bonnici’s allegations have been proven in court.
Sandler said the Crown prosecutor is examining the charges to “determine that there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and whether it’s in the public’s interest to proceed.”
Fantino is due to return to court on December 8.
Liberal candidate Francesco Sorbara defeated the incumbent Conservative MP for the Vaughan-Woodbridge riding in the Oct. 19 federal election.
VIDEO: Federal Election 2015: Julian Fantino thanks supporters following defeat
With a file from