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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Man shot in the back by Toronto police acquitted of resisting arrest

Toronto judge acquits Liboth Bangala of numerous charges after rejecting police officer’s evidence.

Toronto Star - A Toronto man shot in the back by police has been acquitted of having a dangerous weapon, assault with the intent to resist arrest and attempting to disarm the officer who shot him.
At about 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2011, seven plainclothes officers from 51 Division burst into a second-floor apartment near Ontario and Gerrard Sts. without a search warrant. A just-arrested drug suspect had told them an elderly man was being held there against his will.
The Crown alleged Liboth Bangala, now 29, was sitting on a bed with a pellet gun on his lap and that he was attempting to disarm and assault Const. Corey Dunk when the officer’s firearm accidentally discharged. Bangala was hit in his lower back.
While Ontario Court Justice Mara Greene found Bangala to be a “completely unreliable and untrustworthy witness,” she also had “substantial difficulties” with Dunk’s evidence.
“There is no corroboration for the struggle and the attempt to disarm,” she wrote in a 33-page ruling released this week.
Greene, however, wrote she did not find that Dunk just walked into the apartment and opened fire. “I am satisfied some kind of struggle occurred between Mr. Bangala and P.C. Dunk, I just do not know what precipitated the struggle or what happened during the struggle.
“As such, I am unable to conclude that Mr. Bangala was under a lawful arrest at the time of the struggle and that he was struggling in an attempt to resist the lawful arrest.”
Defence lawyer Katie Scott said the entire incident was ill-advised.
“Instead of determining if the tip had any merit they rammed down a door into an apartment guns out, yelling search warrant when they clearly didn’t have one and someone ended up getting shot,” Scott wrote in email Friday.
Bangala continues to have nightmares about being shot, and takes medication for anxiety and stress related to his police encounter, she added.
In April 2012, the province’s Special Investigations Unit charged Dunk with assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm. That case is before the courts.
Harry Black, the officer’s lawyer, said while Bangala was acquitted, the judge made several findings that were “very supportive” of Dunk’s position, including that his conduct at the premises was at all times lawful.
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