Cop convicted of assaulting Dafonte Miller denied bail while applying to top court

TORONTO - An off-duty police officer convicted of brutally assaulting a young Black man has been denied bail as he seeks to bring his case before Canada’s top court.

Const. Michael Theriault had asked to be released from custody while he applies for leave to appeal his conviction and nine-month sentence with the Supreme Court of Canada.

In a ruling released today, the Court of Appeal for Ontario rejected his request, saying the grounds of Theriault’s application to the higher court “have little chance of success.”

The court also says it is in the public interest to keep Theriault detained, even though he may serve much of his sentence before the Supreme Court decides whether to hear his appeal.

Theriault was convicted last year of assault in the December 2016 beating of Dafonte Miller.

He and his brother Christian were acquitted on the more serious charge of aggravated assault and on one count of obstruction of justice.

Earlier this month, the appeal court rejected appeals filed by both Theriault’s lawyers and prosecutors.

The Crown had appealed the acquittals of Theriault and his brother but said it would proceed with a new trial only if his assault conviction was overturned.

The appeal panel found the trial judge had made no legal errors and dismissed the defence appeal. It also threw out the Crown’s appeal without considering its merits given its stance on a retrial.

During trial, prosecutors alleged Theriault and his brother chased Miller in the early hours of the morning and beat him with a metal pipe, leaving him with a ruptured eye and other injuries.

The defence, meanwhile, arguing the brothers acted in self-defence while trying to arrest Miller, who they said had been breaking into the family truck.

The case spurred multiple protests against anti-Black racism and police discrimination.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021.


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