MANDEL: Could three Toronto cops acquitted of sex assault soon be back on the job?

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It’s hard to blame her.

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After a gruelling trial that ended with the acquittal of the three Toronto Police officers she accused of rape, the parking enforcement officer won’t testify against them at their disciplinary hearing. And so Police Act charges against Constables Leslie Nyznik, Joshua Cabero and Sameer Kara have been withdrawn.

In an interview, prosecutor Ian Johnstone said the tribunal — the hearing had been transferred to the jurisdiction of York Regional Police — was supposed to get underway this week but his prime witness recently changed her mind and decided she couldn’t go through with it after all.

Under a withering blame-and-shame cross-examination at the 2017 trial, she was accused of being a ravenous sex addict who initiated it all. If she didn’t have the stomach to go through that again, it’s hardly surprising.

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Johnstone told all the participants on a conference call two weeks ago that it would not go ahead: “We have been directed by the York Regional Police that the prosecution of the officers is no longer in the public interest and we have been directed to withdraw the allegations of misconduct against the officers.”

Now the 51 Division trio are hoping to get back to work after being suspended with pay since their arrest in 2015.

“Sameer always maintained that he did not do anything illegal or actionable,” his lawyer Michael Lacy said in a statement to the Sun . “He was acquitted at the criminal trial and is confident that had the … hearing continued, he would have been once again found not guilty of any misconduct.

“My client has been subject to a cloud of suspicion and wrongdoing for too long. Like anyone found not guilty, he is entitled to move forward with his life.”

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It’s been four years since the three were acquitted by Ontario Superior Court Judge Anne Molloy after she concluded “it was simply not safe to convict” them based on frailties and inconsistencies in the complainant’s story.

The parking officer — her name protected by a publication ban — accused them of sexually assaulting her at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel after a drunken “rookie buy night” on Jan. 16, 2015. Nyznik, the only one to take the stand, insisted the sex was consensual.

From left, Toronto Police Consts. Joshua Cabero, Sameer Kara and Leslie Nyznik listen as the complainant, who cannot be identified, wipes tears while testifying before Crown attorney Ted Ofiara and Justice Anne Molloy at 361 University Ave. court on June 7, 2017. (Pam Davies/Toronto Sun)
From left, Toronto Police Consts. Joshua Cabero, Sameer Kara and Leslie Nyznik listen as the complainant, who cannot be identified, wipes tears while testifying before Crown attorney Ted Ofiara and Justice Anne Molloy at 361 University Ave. court on June 7, 2017. (Pam Davies/Toronto Sun)

Their colleague said she didn’t remember arriving at the hotel and was completely incapacitated by alcohol and possibly a drug. Her story was undone by hotel security footage showing her walking and standing outside the elevator, laughing and chatting with Nyznik and Cabero — all without exhibiting any physical signs of inebriation.

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While the judge titled a section of her verdict “I do not necessarily believe Mr. Nyznik,” she found the evidence against him and his friends left a reasonable doubt.

But it wasn’t over. More than a year after their acquittal, the three were charged under the Police Services Act — a move they claimed in a $5-million lawsuit against their bosses was done for “political reasons.” The allegations included having sex with a woman who “did not consent to the sexual conduct” and taking “advantage of their position and authority” to have sex with a colleague who was “in a lower position within the TPS hierarchy, structure and authority.”

Those allegations would certainly be hard to prove without the testimony of the woman.

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But there were other charges surrounding the disgraceful behaviour of Nyznik and Kara on that drunken bar-hopping night — much of it caught on security video played at their trial.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Nyznik was charged with misconduct for allegedly partaking in food and alcohol provided free of charge at the Pravda Vodka Bar and entering the Brass Rail strip club without paying the cover charge. He was also accused of posing as part of a Miami porn film crew, asking an exotic dancer to audition privately in his hotel room and getting her number before he left.

  1. Toronto Police Consts. (l-r) Sameer Kara, Joshua Cabero and Leslie Nyznik leave a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, December 13, 2018 at police headquarters. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

    MANDEL: Cops in hotel sex foursome should lose their jobs

  2. L to R) Defence lawyer Gary Clewley with Toronto Police Constables Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik, and Sameer Kara at 2201 Finch court on February 19, 2015.

    Drunken cops in hotel sex foursome may face sobering Police Act charges

  3. None

    Complainant obsessed with me: Toronto cop

Kara was charged with misconduct for being publicly drunk — he puked his guts out no less than three times.

It certainly sounds like conduct unbecoming of Toronto’s finest. But seven years after that infamous night of off-duty exploits, could they soon be back on the job as if nothing had happened?

“They remain suspended with pay while we review the matter,” Toronto Police spokesman Connie Osborne said.

mmandel@postmedia.com

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