THUNDER BAY, ONT.—The police chief of Thunder Bay, Ont., has been found not guilty on charges of obstruction of justice and breach of trust.
Justice Bonnie Warkentin issued her ruling on the charges against J.P. Levesque in a courtroom in the northwestern Ontario city on Thursday.
The courtroom erupted in applause from Levesque’s family members and supporters after the verdict was read.
Warkentin says the Crown did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Levesque intended to interfere with a possible extortion investigation into Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and acted within his discretion as chief of police.
Read more: Thunder Bay police chief’s charges tied to issue with the city’s mayor
Provincial police first laid the charges against the 53-year-old police chief last May and he was soon placed on administrative suspension by the force’s police services board.
During his six-day trial, which began last month, several witnesses testified that Levesque allegedly informed Hobbs that he was the focus of an extortion investigation by the RCMP.
Hobbs, along with his wife, Marisa Hobbs, were charged with extortion and obstruction of justice last July.
Levesque’s lawyers, Brian Gover and Frederick Schuman, argued Levesque’s decision was the best one based on the unique circumstances of the situation and that he acted within his discretion as chief of police. They also pointed to Levesque’s character as trustworthy and honest, based on testimony from several witnesses.
Prosecutor Jason Nicol argued Levesque attempted to interfere with the investigation by tipping off Hobbs and that the relationship between the two was more than “just a professional relationship.”
Source : TheStar