Tue, June 22, 2004

Fury over cop case

A SENIOR Mountie who headed an investigation into the Toronto Police drug squad has written a scathing letter in which he says a deal that could keep a disgraced cop on the job is of "questionable moral quality." In a memo to Toronto Police internal affairs boss, Staff Supt. David Dicks, last week RCMP Deputy Commissioner John Neily said a 25-member team of Toronto detectives did an "exceptional investigation" on Const. Rob Kelly.

The memo was written after Toronto Police Staff Sgt. Al Scott told him that news reports about Kelly's "secret deal" had "cut the heart out of" what remains of Neily's drug task force.

One task force officer questioned why he should continue with the probe and be "ostracized" while "Kelly will be a hero."

Kelly, 39, was arrested by Neily's team on Nov. 16, 2001, after a police informant who complained Kelly had threatened his life over an unpaid $25,000 gambling debt helped set up a sting.

At Kelly's trial, a Toronto cop testified that the informant alleged he not only did cocaine with Kelly, but also with four other officers.

Kelly received a suspended sentence on March 4 after pleading guilty to two Criminal Code charges of possession of cocaine.

He pleaded guilty last week to two Police Services Act charges and admitted that he gave the informant 3.15 grams of cocaine and tried to get more for their joint use.

Prosecutors and Kelly's defence lawyers filed a joint submission to Supt. Tony Warr, head of the police tribunal, in which they said Kelly should keep his job but be temporarily busted to a fourth-class constable, surrender his gun and submit to random drug testing.

Warr will render his decision on Kelly on July 7.

Both the criminal and police tribunal trials heard that Kelly has attended almost 400 hours of counselling to beat his addiction.

Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino said yesterday nothing is pre-ordained and that Warr will have the final say on the matter.

"I have faith in the system and what they are endeavouring to do," Fantino said.