Orillia OPP officer convicted of assaulting woman during arr

These are violations by the Ontario Provincial Police officers dealing with the Criminal Code of Canada, Controlled Substance and Abuse Act, Customs and Excise Act, etc.

Orillia OPP officer convicted of assaulting woman during arr

Postby Thomas » Mon Oct 30, 2023 4:24 pm

An Orillia OPP officer has been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm after choking and pinning a woman against cell bars during an arrest four years ago.

On Thursday, Justice John Olver said Const. Bailey Nicholls used excessive force during the arrest of a woman while removing her jewelry in a jail cell, resulting in her needing five stitches for her injuries.

On Sept. 7, 2019, OPP officers arrested a woman outside the Studabakers Beachside restaurant in Orillia for public intoxication and brought her to the Orillia OPP detachment.

She was asked to remove her jewelry in her holding cell as a routine precaution but found it difficult to remove her necklace due to her intoxicated state.

Court documents say she removed her earrings before attempting the necklace again.

An impatient Const. Nicholls intervened approximately one minute later, pulling on the chain, snapping and breaking it.

The court heard she then grabbed her throat while shoving her into the cell bars.

The woman was taken to hospital for treatment, requiring staples for her bloodied head.

The encounter was all captured on camera.

"As the commissioner has said, we know that it's troubling for everyone when a police officer is accused of and, in particular, convicted of a serious crime," said Bill Dickson, OPP Acting Media Relations manager. "The OPP is not only aware of this decision, we take it very seriously, and we value our relationships with our communities. We want to make sure that people know they can trust members of the OPP to uphold the law and preserve public safety."

Dickson said Const. Nicholls is currently on an "unrelated leave."

"We have seen some cases recently, and it is unfortunate, and we don't like it just as much as the public doesn't like it," Dickson added. "But it's still rare when you think of how many police officers we have in the OPP."

The Ontario Provincial Police Association said it's reviewing the judge's reasons for finding the 8-year OPP veteran guilty.

"The OPP Association will fully support OPP Provincial Constable Bailey Nicholls to the conclusion of this proceeding. We believed that the evidence would result in the acquittal of PC Nicholls, and Thursday's decision is obviously very disappointing," said John Cerasuolo, Ontario Provincial Police Association President. "We are analyzing and reviewing the decision of Justice Olver, and once the legal process is concluded, a determination will be made about the merits of an appeal."

Const. Nicholls will return to court in late November to set a date for sentencing.

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'Deeply troubling': Orillia OPP officer convicted of assault

Postby Thomas » Mon Oct 30, 2023 4:26 pm

Const. Bailey Nicholls found guilty of assault causing bodily harm following 2019 incident at Orillia bar; OPP Association calls ruling 'very disappointing'

An Orillia OPP officer has been convicted of assault causing bodily harm for her actions following an arrest outside Studabakers Restaurant four years ago.

On Sept. 7, 2019, OPP officers arrested a woman outside the downtown Orillia bar at 1:15 a.m., and then transported her to the former Orillia OPP detachment on Peter Street.

While in a jail cell, the woman was involved in an interaction with Const. Bailey Nicholls, and was subsequently taken to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital for treatment. Two days later, the woman returned to the hospital and was diagnosed with a serious injury.

At the time, a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) probe led to the charge against Nicholls, who was ultimately found guilty of assault causing bodily harm at the Orillia courthouse on Thursday.

Following the incident, Nicholls was permitted to continue working in an administrative capacity, but on Friday OPP officials confirmed that she is not currently working due to “unrelated leave.”

What happens next for Nicholls is still unclear, officials said, noting they are reviewing the decision and that sentencing has yet to take place.

“While there has been a conviction registered, we don't know if there will be an appeal or anything like that. It'll all take time,” said OPP media relations manager Bill Dickson.

In a news release, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique stated the police service recognizes how troubling such convictions can be.

"We recognize that it can be deeply troubling when a police officer is convicted of, or even accused of a criminal offence,” Carrique said. “The OPP is a very large service and serious breaches of the law or professional standards by our members are rare. We hold our officers to the highest standards of professionalism and are committed to ensuring that we maintain the public's trust."

John Cerasuolo, president of the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA), said the association will continue to “fully support” Nicholls to the conclusion of the legal proceedings.

“On Oct. 26, 2023, Justice Jon Olver read a verdict of guilty of assault causing bodily harm for Const. Bailey Nicholls after a trial in Orillia court,” Cerasuolo said in a statement.

“We believed that the evidence would result in the acquittal of PC Nicholls and today's decision is obviously very disappointing," he said.

“We are analyzing and reviewing the decision of Justice Olver, and once the legal process is concluded, a determination will be made about the merits of an appeal.”

“The member’s currently off on unrelated leave, so they're not actually working," Dickson added. “There will be professional standards and an investigation following this, but there are processes to follow.”

https://www.barrietoday.com/police-beat ... lt-7746018
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'Disingenuous': OPP officer found guilty of assaulting woman

Postby Thomas » Mon Oct 30, 2023 4:30 pm

'Disingenuous': OPP officer found guilty of assaulting woman during Orillia arrest

A judge found excessive force was used during a September 2019 arrest

An Orillia OPP constable has been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm, after a woman was choked and hit against cell bars four years ago.

In a verdict read Oct. 26, Justice John Olver said Const. Bailey Nicholls used excessive force during the arrest of another woman while removing her jewelry in a jail cell, causing her to bleed and need five staples.

The court heard Nicholls was called to Studabakers Beachside on Sept. 7, 2019, after a complaint.

A man had gotten into a fight with a bouncer, and OPP were called to assist. The man's mother, Shannon Hoffman, had been drinking with a friend before arriving at the restaurant that night.

She watched the altercation unfold, and was angry and belligerent with officers, who asked her repeatedly to leave. She did not, and was arrested for public intoxication — a charge to which she later pleaded guilty.

The 43-year-old was brought back to the former OPP station on Peter Street, where she was put into a holding cell. As a routine precaution, she was asked to remove her jewelry, which was all caught on video.

She was tipsy and had trouble undoing the clasp from a necklace, so she removed her hoop earrings and a few stud earrings before attempting the necklace again.

Approximately a minute had gone by, and Nicholls decided to intervene, pulling on the chain, which snapped and broke.

“She makes no attempt to remove the clasp,” Olver said, adding that's when the mood in the room shifted.

Next, Nicholls reached for Hoffman's right hand to pull off a ring, which was stuck to the point it hurt. Hoffman grabbed the officer's wrist to stop her from pulling any further, which Nicholls told the court she perceived as a threat.

The fact that Hoffman is smaller than Nicholls at five-foot two-inches tall and 115 pounds doesn't equal much of a threat, Olver noted.

“She was asked how it felt when Hoffman grabbed her wrist, and she said, 'I'm the one in the position of authority, so at no point is anyone going to put physical force on me,'” Olver said. “She was asked if she could have let the situation play out (without force) and said, 'I certainly could have, but I was not willing to do that.'”

Using one hand, Nicholls restrained the woman's arm, then reached up with her free hand and started choking her.

“She grabs her throat while pushing her into cell bars, pinning her at arm's length,” Olver said. “She didn't take a step back; she decided to go hands-on.”

Nicholls held her there for four seconds before another female officer stepped in to de-escalate the situation.

Following that, Hoffman reached behind her head, noticing blood on her hands from a wound. Paramedics were called to take her to Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital, where she got five staples to close the wound. She later filed a complaint with the OPP, which was investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), resulting in criminal charges.

Olver noted Nicholls didn't complete a use-of-force report, and waited 18 minutes after Hoffman went to the hospital to call her supervisor to report the confrontation.

The SIU interview — completed 15 months later without rewatching the video — was also different than her trial testimony, Olver said.

Forcefully removing the necklace was provocative and showed impatience, he added.

“Nicholls is responsible for escalating the situation, which directly led to the incident, and her response is excessive and disproportionate for the minimal force applied by an officer,” Olver said. “Her evidence to the contrary is disingenuous.”

He found her guilty of assault causing bodily harm.

In a statement sent to Simcoe.com, the Ontario Provincial Police Association president John Cerasuolo said he stands behind Nicholls.

“The OPP Association will fully support OPP Provincial Const. Bailey Nicholls to the conclusion of this proceeding,“ Cerasuolo said. ”We believed that the evidence would result in the acquittal of PC Nicholls and today's decision is obviously very disappointing.“

He said the organization is analyzing and reviewing the decision of Justice Olver, and once the legal process is concluded, a determination will be made about the merits of an appeal.

Similarly, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique released a statement about the decision.

”We recognize that it can be deeply troubling when a police officer is convicted of, or even accused of a criminal offence,“ Carrique wrote. ”The OPP is a very large service and serious breaches of the law or professional standards by our members are rare. We hold our officers to the highest standards of professionalism and are committed to ensuring that we maintain the public's trust.“

Carrique added the OPP is also reviewing the decision and details of the case.

Olver will meet with lawyers Nov. 28 to set a sentencing date.

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Video shows OPP officer putting hand around woman’s neck, pu

Postby Thomas » Thu Dec 07, 2023 3:44 am

Video shows OPP officer putting hand around woman’s neck, pushing her back against holding cell in Orillia

Newly released security video in the case of an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) constable convicted of assaulting a 43-year-old woman inside a holding cell in Orillia in 2019 shows the moment when the officer put her hands around the victim's throat and pushed her back against jail bars.

The more than eight-minute video has no audio and begins with a handcuffed Shannon Hoffman being brought inside the facility. She was arrested outside the Studabakers Beachside restaurant in Orillia on Sept. 7, 2019, for public intoxication.

After her handcuffs are removed, Hoffman starts removing her jewelry with Const. Bailey Nicholls is watching on. One minute passes and Hoffman has yet to take them all off. During the trial, the judge decided the video showed the officer's increasing frustration with Hoffman's struggle to remove her necklace.

In the video, the two are seen exchanging words before Nicholls steps in, grabs Hoffman's necklace and removes it. Hoffman appears to be upset by the officer's actions as the two are then seen arguing.

As she speaks, Hoffman raises her hands, and Nicholls grabs it and tries to remove a ring on her finger. When Hoffman attempts to pull out her hand, Nicholls is seen putting her hand around Hoffman's neck, pushing her back against the jail bars. The constable had Hoffman pinned for about four seconds before she was able to break free. Another OPP officer comes in to intervene.

Hoffman is later placed inside the cell and continually checks the back of her head. The two officers return and give her a tissue, which she presses on her head.

The video later reveals a blood-soaked tissue. Paramedics show up a few moments later to check on Hoffman.

She had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for a cut in her head, which needed to be stapled five times.

The Special Investigations Unit, the province's police watchdog, looked into the incident and charged Nicholls.

During the trial, the judge found Nicholls' explanation of what occurred as "disingenuous and unsatisfactory" and said, "I am troubled by P.C. Nicholls' refusal to acknowledge what is plainly seen in the cell video."

The constable, who has been with the OPP for eight years, was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm last month.

The OPP Association said it fully supports Nicholls, who is on an unrelated leave, despite the "very disappointing" decision.

“We believed that the evidence, including the video released today, would result in the acquittal of PC Nicholls," the OPPA said in a statement.

"We have viewed the video. It is our position that force used in the circumstances was minimal, appropriate, and commiserate in the full circumstances of the incident."

The OPPA added that the full interaction that led to the officer's actions was not captured in the video.

"We believe that while a reasonable member of the public viewing the video may not accept the officer’s use of force they would be left wondering how that interaction resulted in the injury and a conviction for ‘assault cause bodily harm’," the group said.

The OPPA noted it is reviewing the judge's decision and will determine if an appeal is necessary.

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Video shows OPP officer putting hand around woman’s neck, pu

Postby Thomas » Thu Dec 07, 2023 3:45 am

Video shows OPP officer putting hand around woman’s neck, pushing her back against holding cell

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Sentencing hearing in Orillia for OPP officer guilty of assa

Postby Thomas » Fri Mar 01, 2024 6:36 am

An Ontario Provincial Police officer guilty of assault causing bodily harm for choking and pinning a woman against jail cell bars four years ago arrived at the Orillia courthouse on Thursday for a sentencing hearing.

Security video released from inside a holding cell in 2019 showed the interaction between Const. Bailey Nicholls and Shannon Hoffman, 43, who was accused of being intoxicated in public.

The video shows Nicholls' frustration with Hoffman as the woman tried to remove her jewelry. Nicholls is seen snapping off Hoffman's necklace and forcibly trying to remove her ring.

The officer then pushed Hoffman backwards into the cell bars and placed her hand on the woman's throat. Hoffman suffered a head injury from the incident that required five staples.

The Crown read a victim impact statement on behalf of Hoffman, saying the assault "has had a long-lasting impact" and calling it an "absolute abuse of power."

The Crown was seeking a 12 to 15-month conditional sentence for Nicholls rather than straight jail time so she could take care of her 11-month-old son, adding had she not had parental duties, it would have gone after 60 to 90 days in prison. The Crown argued a breach of trust by an OPP officer required a harsher penalty.

Nicholl's defence called for a conditional discharge with probation or a suspended sentence, calling the assault out of character.

In October, when Nicholls was found guilty, the judge said he found the officer's explanations to be "disingenuous and unsatisfactory" and that he was "troubled by P.C. Nicholls' refusal to acknowledge what is plainly seen in the cell video."

The defence said Nicholls had no intention of injuring Hoffman, that she made a mistake in a split decision and has felt shame and sadness since, adding the incident had significantly altered her relationships with family and friends, including the postponement of her wedding.

In statements provided to the court by Nicholls' colleagues, she was described as an exemplary officer and a model citizen, having volunteered for several organizations in Orillia.

The judge will now have a month to review Thursday's court proceedings.

Sentencing is expected to be handed down on April 4 in Collingwood.

https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/sentencing-he ... -1.6789845
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‘The abuse of power… was terrifying’: Crown seeking up to 15

Postby Thomas » Fri Mar 01, 2024 6:40 am

‘The abuse of power… was terrifying’: Crown seeking up to 15-month conditional sentence for Orillia OPP officer convicted of assault

Const. Bailey Nicholls’ lawyer is arguing for discharge with probationary conditions or suspended sentence

Const. Bailey Nicholls was convicted in October of assault causing bodily harm for grabbing Shannon Hoffman by the throat and pushing her into cell bars.

A woman assaulted by an Orillia OPP officer while in custody said the incident has left her and her family with a deep distrust of the police.

A Crown attorney read out a victim impact statement from Shannon Hoffman in an Orillia courtroom on Feb. 29, in which she thanked the court for “bringing me some peace after four years.”

Hoffman was arrested in September 2019 for public intoxication.

While in custody at the detachment, she was assaulted by Const. Bailey Nicholls, after the officer became impatient while Hoffman was trying to remove her jewelry prior to going into a holding cell.

Nicholls forcibly tore off Hoffman’s necklace after Hoffman made two unsuccessful attempts to unclasp it.

While trying to take off her rings, the situation escalated to the point where Nicholls grabbed Hoffman by the throat and pushed her into the cell bars. Hoffman later required stitches to close a head wound.

Nicholls was charged by the province’s Special Investigations Unit in January 2021 and was found guilty in October of assault causing bodily harm.

In her statement, read out during the Feb. 29 sentencing hearing, Hoffman said she now felt anxiety while interacting with the police, and that while she acknowledged responsibility for the circumstances of why she was arrested, there was nothing that justified Nicholls’ actions.

Not only did she suffer the assault, Hoffman wrote in her statement, “but there were many lies told about me … everyone I encountered thought I was just a drunk woman who tried to assault an officer.”

Hoffman said she's tried to tell her daughter that not all officers act in the same manner, “but she has drawn her own conclusions” about the police.

“I hope (Nicholls) never has to fear another human being as much as I did that night,” Hoffman wrote, adding that she's still trying to heal. “The abuse of power displayed that night was terrifying.”

Crown attorney Catherine Weiler asked for a conditional sentence of 12 to 15 months, noting that Nicholls’ actions represented a “breach of trust” and saying it would send a message to other officers that an assault on an individual in their custody “deserves denunciation.”

Normally, she told Justice John Olver, a “short, sharp” in-jail sentence of 60 to 90 days would be appropriate, but Nicholls’ personal circumstances (she is on an 18-month maternity leave), combined with the gravity of the offence, warranted a conditional sentence of a longer period.

“A discharge would send a message that (an assault of a prisoner in police custody) … is not worthy of denunciation and it would be out of step (with previous court decisions),” Weiler told the court.

Nicholls’ lawyer, Mike Miller, proposed either a discharge with probationary conditions or a suspended sentence, arguing that the officer made a split-second decision in stressful circumstances, including that the detachment was understaffed the night of the incident.

He argued that the incident bore no semblance to other cases of officers charged with assaulting individuals in custody, in that it was not premeditated and it only happened in a matter of seconds.

“This was a matter of impulse; her judgment failed,” Miller said.

The lawyer also told the court Nicholls was born and raised in Orillia, and graduated from her policing and criminology studies at post-secondary institutions with honours before becoming a police officer in 2016.

“There’s a lot the public has not heard about Const. Nicholls,” Miller said, as he read from a number of character letters that spoke to the officer’s work ethic, compassion and kindness.

Miller said Nicholls, who is now 31, has suffered from anxiety and depression since charges were laid, and felt “shame, sadness, and frustration in dealing with life, even in the happiest moments.”

That included, Miller told the court, the birth of Nicholls’ son in April 2023.

He said Nicholls, who had no disciplinary issues prior to the incident, didn't intend to hurt Hoffman, and highlighted Nicholls’ work in investigations related to domestic violence and child abuse.

“Her work in that type of policing has allowed her to make a difference in the lives of people who are in crisis and are vulnerable,” Miller told the court. “(Nicholls) is a very good person, a thoughtful, giving, selfless, empathetic, and loyal person.”

“For a lifetime of serving the community, it would be wrong to define her life and career in policing through a window of an incident that lasted only a few seconds.”

Weiler called the assault more than “a lapse of judgment” and said Nicholls’ actions were a “breach of trust … (and) she has brought onto herself the potential for dismissal (from the OPP).”

“She acted contrary to her police training … and ignored her training in particular by getting impatient and hands-on in removing (Hoffman’s) jewelry,” Weiler said. “(Hoffman) did not pose a threat to the officer, and she did not provoke the assault.”

Nicholls is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on April 4.

The OPP’s Professional Standards Branch is also reviewing the complaint against Nicholls, and is waiting for the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

https://www.simcoe.com/news/crime/the-a ... 46a91.html
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OPP officer guilty of assaulting a jail cell has sentencing

Postby Thomas » Fri Mar 01, 2024 6:41 am

OPP officer guilty of assaulting a jail cell has sentencing hearing in Orillia PiPa News

An Ontario Provincial Police officer guilty of assault causing bodily harm for choking and pinning a woman against jail cells four years ago arrived at the Orillia courthouse on Thursday for a sentencing hearing.

Security video released from inside a holding cell in 2019 shows the interaction between Const. Bailey Nicholls and Shannon Hoffman, 43, who were charged with being drunk in public.

The video shows Nicholls’ frustration with Hoffman as the woman tries to remove her jewelry. Nicholls is seen removing Hoffman’s necklace and forcing her to remove her ring.

The officer then pushed Hoffman back against the cell bars and put his hand around the woman’s throat. Hoffman suffered a head injury from the incident that required five staples.

The Crown read a victim impact statement for Hoffman, which said the attack “had long-lasting effects” and called it an “absolute abuse of power.”

The Crown asked for a 12- to 15-month conditional sentence for Nicholls instead of a straight prison term so she could care for her 11-month-old son, adding that if she hadn’t had parental duties, it would have been over. it is after 60 to 90 days. in prison. The Crown argued that breaching an OPP officer’s trust warranted a harsher sentence.

Nicholl’s defense called for a conditional discharge with probation or a suspended sentence, calling the attack out of character.

In October, when Nicholls was found guilty, the judge said he found the officer’s explanations “dishonest and unsatisfactory” and that he was “disturbed by PC Nicholls’ refusal to -identified as clearly visible in the cell video.”

The defense said Nicholls had no intention of hurting Hoffman, that he had made a mistake in a split decision and has felt shame and sadness ever since, adding that the incident had changed his relationships with family and friends, including the postponement of his wedding.

In statements given in court by Nicholls’ associates, he was described as an exemplary officer and model citizen, who volunteered with many organizations in Orillia.

The judge will now have a month to review the court proceedings on Thursday.

Sentencing is expected on April 4 in Collingwood.

https://pipanews.com/opp-officer-guilty ... pipa-news/
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'Breach of trust': Sentence for Orillia OPP officer now in j

Postby Thomas » Fri Mar 01, 2024 6:43 am

'Breach of trust': Sentence for Orillia OPP officer now in judge's hands

Crown attorney says Const. Bailey Nicholls' conduct was an 'absolute abuse of power' that has had a 'long-lasting impact' on the victim's life

More than four years after an incident in downtown Orillia that spilled over into the jail cell of the local OPP detachment, the fate of Orillia OPP Const. Bailey Nicholls remains uncertain.

On Thursday, an all-day sentencing hearing was held at the Orillia courthouse for Nicholls, who was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm last year for her interactions with an Orillia resident in 2019.

The Crown, Catherine Weiler, and defence attorney, Mike Wilder, both made their cases for what they deemed to be an appropriate punishment for Nicholls, following the incident in which Nicholls injured Shannon Hoffman while she was in custody.

Hoffman was arrested for public intoxication outside Studabakers at Orillia's waterfront on Sept. 7, 2019, before being brought to a holding cell at the OPP detachment then located on Peter Street.

Hoffman was asked to remove her jewelry, including earrings, a necklace, and chain on her neck. After struggling with removing the chain, Nicholls stepped in and snapped the chain from her neck.

Nicholls then attempted to remove a ring from Hoffman’s finger, which was tightly in place, when Hoffman reached out and grabbed Nicholls’ wrist — prompting the officer to push her back against the cell bars, putting her hand around Hoffman’s throat for roughly 3.5 seconds.

Following the interaction, Hoffman was taken to Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital with a wound on her head that required staples to close. A subsequent Special Investigations Unit probe led to the charge against Nicholls.

For Crown attorney Catherine Weiler, the assault demonstrated a “breach of trust” in Nicholls’ capacity as a police officer; she told the court Thursday that Hoffman was brought to the OPP station “purportedly for her safety.”

Among several aggravating factors, Weiler argued it was Nicholls’ conduct — not Hoffman’s — that “precipitated the use of force,” and that Nicholls acted contrary to her police training by “getting impatient and hands-on” during the altercation.

Weiler argued Nicholls’ conduct undermines “the public’s confidence in the police,” and read a victim impact statement from Hoffman, in which she called Nicholls’ actions an “absolute abuse of power” that has had a “long-lasting impact” on her life.

The Crown is seeking a 12-15 month conditional sentence, with one-third house arrest and one-third curfew, in lieu of a “short, sharp” jail sentence of 60-90 days due to the mitigating circumstance of Nicholls having an infant under one year of age — for which she is currently on maternity leave.

Justice Olver noted conditional sentences are normally no longer than double a jail sentence, and questioned the Crown’s rationale for the leap to 12-15 months.

The aggravating factors, along with Nicholls’ position of trust as an OPP officer “warrant exceeding that,” Weiler argued.

Defence attorney Mike Miller argued for either a suspended sentence or a conditional discharge in which conditions would be imposed upon Nicholls, but no conviction would be registered. He noted a conditional sentence would likely result in Nicholls’ termination from the OPP.

Miller highlighted Nicholls’ numerous efforts to contribute to the community, both in her work as an OPP officer and as a volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters, among other local organizations, and read numerous positive character references and performance evaluations from her superiors.

Miller called Nicholls a “thoughtful, generous, kind, empathetic and loyal person,” and said “it would be wrong to define her through the window of an incident lasting only a few seconds." He said Nicholls did not intend to injure Hoffman.

Weiler, however, argued that regardless of Nicholls’ intent, her “use of excessive force” nonetheless led to Hoffman’s injuries, and added that her career with the OPP is not the court’s responsibility.

“This hearing is fundamentally not about whether or not she gets to keep her job … that is up to Ms. Nicholls' police service,” Weiler said.

Justice Olver is expected to announce his ruling on the sentencing on April 4.

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