Evidence is in, judge will decide if firefighters at fault
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012 5:50PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:55AM CST
The trial has wrapped up for three Saskatoon firefighters charged with obstruction and assaulting a peace officer after an incident last summer.
What started with firefighters horsing around on the Broadway Bridge ended in a scuffle with police and criminal charges being laid.
Police officers believed they saw an assault and jumped in, pushing one of the firemen over and kneeling on the back of another. That led to punches on both sides, pepper spray, and a fireman grabbing an officer from behind.
Police then charged Jeff Tysdal, Cliff Hamilton, and Keith Walliser with assault and obstruction.
But the firemen say police used excessive force for no reason, because they immediately told police "we're all friends - and only play fighting” when officers approached them.
Now a judge needs to determine if police had reasonable ground to intervene the way they did.
Brad Mitchell, lawyer for the defense, says police did not, and none of the charges should stick. “If the police weren't in lawful execution of their duty, which is the argument that I made, then they were actually assaulting the two other firefighters and my client was simply coming to the aid of those individuals.”
But the prosecutor, Tom MacNab, says the firemen shouldn't have pushed back. He says police acted appropriately to an unknown situation. “What's the first thing he does? Sees Mr. Walliser on top of Mr. Hamilton; pushes him off of Mr. Hamilton. What else would you expect him to do?"
But the prosecutor was questioned by the judge about why the incident didn't end when the firemen said 'we're all friends.'
“I certainly had the impression I had some persuading to do of Judge Senger," says MacNab.
The judge has to decide whose story is most credible. He says he will listen carefully to the testimony again, and deliver his verdict on November 28.