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Court upholds assault conviction of off-duty cop in beating of young Black man

TORONTO — The Ontario Court of Appeal has rejected appeals filed by both the Crown and defence after a Toronto police officer was convicted of brutally assaulting a young Black man.

The defence had been seeking to overturn Michael Theriault's conviction of assault after he was sentenced to nine months in jail in the beating of Dafonte Miller in December 2016.

The Crown had appealed the acquittal of Theriault and his brother on charges of aggravated assault and obstruction of justice -- but said it would proceed with a new trial only if his assault conviction was overturned.

Ontario's highest court rejected the defence appeal after finding no errors in the trial judge's approach and dismissed the Crown's appeal without considering its merits given its position on a retrial.

Prosecutors alleged during the trial that Theriault and his brother cornered Miller in the early hours of the morning and beat him with a metal pipe, rupturing his eye, among other injuries, after they said they caught him stealing from the family truck.

The case spurred multiple protests against anti-Black racism and police discrimination.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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