Two major acquittals, one bribery and one sexual assault, make headlines in Canada

 December 17, 2023

There seems to be an uptick in acquittals as of late, and it's not just limited to the United States court system.

According to CTV News Toronto, an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) was recently acquitted in a case that accused him of taking bribes from a tow-truck company.

Const. Simon Bridle faced "breach of trust" allegations in which he was accused of favoring a particular towing company.

In an unrelated Canadian acquittal case, Canadian Armed Forces chief petty officer David Leslie Joseph Wilson was acquitted of a serious sexual assault charge.

What happened?

In the case of the tow truck bribery situation, Bridle maintained his innocence throughout the trial, and emphasized that he had worked with multiple tow companies throughout the course of his career.

The outlet noted:

Bridle was alleged to have favoured one specific tow operator to remove vehicles from drivers charged with stunt driving and to have received the benefit of a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado from Steve Pillay, the tow company owner, who was paying the lease payments.

Bridle argued that he wouldn't risk his job, pension, and other benefits for the sake of owning a used truck.

"It’s church and state. Just because I and other officers purchase vehicles doesn’t change how we work professionally on the highway. I don’t feel any debt to him. If you think I would risk my employment, my pension, my benefits and my reputation for a good deal on a third-hand truck, then you’re mistaken," Bridle told the judge.

While he was accused by the state of lying about the arrangement regarding the truck payments, the court found that Bridle had not favored any particular tow company.

"Curiously, the Crown equally chose not to call one single OPP officer witness at the trial. The only OPP officer witness scheduled to give evidence, refused to attend Court," Bridle's attorney said.

Sexual assault acquittal

In the case of the chief petty officer's sexual assault allegations, it boiled down to the female, who claimed he sexually assaulted her, claiming there was no consent.

The military officer argued that he received consent twice, and that no assault had occurred.

Notably, the judge in the case admitted that it came down to a question of credibility, and clearly favored the military officer's testimony as she believed it was more sincere.

"He appeared worried but rarely became emotional," Judge Nancy Adams said. "I have no reason to reject his evidence for what happened in the cabin that night."

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