Retired officer acquitted on all counts


By Sue Yanagisawa

Kingston Whig-Standard

Tuesday April 18, 2017

Retired Const. Jim Lindsay, pictured during a 2012 bomb threat at the Frontenac County Court house during the Shafia family murder trial. (Ian MacAlpine/Whig-Standard file photo)

A retired Kingston Police officer, accused seven months after leaving the force of sexual misconduct involving a child 30 years earlier, has been acquitted on all counts.

In early March, Bruce (Jim) Lindsay, 58, stood trial in Kingston's Superior Court on charges of gross indecency, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and common assault, crimes that a woman now in her forties claims he committed against her when she was a child and adolescent.

Lindsay testified in his own defence, denying any impropriety, and Superior Court Justice Graeme Mew reserved decision, delivering his finding Tuesday at the Frontenac County Court House.

In his decision, the judge said he was impressed by the complainant in the case and "I believe that [she] gave an honest account of events, as she recalls them."

But he also said, "I am not able to accept the truth beyond reasonable doubt of all of [her] evidence."

Lindsay's accuser was a child in elementary school when Lindsay, then in his twenties, met and began dating her mother.

She testified during the trial that she hadn't seen him in 25 years until, in 2014 not long before his retirement, they both attended the same function. He'd lost his wife to cancer earlier in the year and the woman said she heard that he was dating again and that the woman he was dating had a young daughter, which alarmed her.

She testified that she considered contacting the other woman and warning her about Lindsay, but dismissed the idea, concerned that she'd be considered a crackpot.

Ultimately, she went to police, who turned the investigation over to the Special Investigations Unit, the body that ultimately laid the charges.

The accusations against Lindsay included that he frequently lounged around his apartment all those years ago, watching TV dressed in nothing but a robe, left open in front to expose his genitals; that he kept "pornographic magazines" such as Hustler openly on display in the bathroom; and that he had readily accessible pornographic movies.

Once, the woman testified, she walked in on him in the bathroom and found him sitting on the toilet looking at one of the magazines and masturbating.

She also claimed that he insisted, while she was still a preteen, that she give him back rubs that extended to his naked buttocks and legs. She testified that, on more than one occasion, while giving her a hug he cupped her buttocks with his hands, and she told Justice Mew that once, when she was in her teens, he ran his hands down her sides and offered a complimentary critique of her figure.

Conversely, she also claimed that Lindsay once punished her by holding her extended over the balcony railing of a high-rise building.

Lindsay, when he testified, denied most of the accusations outright and gave a different account of other elements of the case against him.

He denied, for example, that he ever lounged around with his genitals exposed and testified that the first he'd heard of the balcony-dangling incident was in 2015 in the office of his lawyer, Clyde Smith.

He told Justice Mews that he had, on occasion, asked his accuser's mother to massage his neck and shoulders after a stressful shift. He also recalled that her daughter, who was still a little girl at the time, sometimes wanted to help and he'd let her. Lindsay testified the most clothing he ever took off in her presence, however, was his shirt.

In response to several of the accusations, Lindsay simply asserted "that never happened," and told the judge that being accused of such things "absolutely devastated me."

He admitted that for a short period of time when his accuser and her mother were in his life, he'd had a collection of skin magazines in his home and two "soft porn" videos. Lindsay said he'd collected them in advance of hosting a bachelor party for a friend who was about to be married.

But he testified the blue movies were hidden on the top shelf of his bedroom closet and magazines were kept out of sight inside the bathroom vanity.

The judge observed that "for the most part, Mr. Lindsay's evidence consists of bald denials," and said "I cannot uncritically accept Mr. Lindsay's evidence." But he also noted a legal instruction that "if, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, you are uncertain of who to believe, you must acquit."

He noted, for example, that he found elements of the complainant's massage account "improbable" while a couple of details she'd recounted had an air of reality.

In the end, however, Justice Mew said: "I am unable to determine with confidence what actually happened."

Likewise, he said he was not convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the bathroom incident happened at all.

Justice Mew accepted that the some form of the incident in which the complainant described Lindsay running his hands down her sides and commenting on her then teenage figure did happen. He also said the words attributed to Lindsay were "sexist, patronizing and disrespectful."

But he found the complainant's account didn't amount to sexual exploitation, and ultimately, he said, "I'm left with sufficient doubt about what happened that it would be unsafe to register a conviction."