Public hearing withdrawn for two Abbotsford Police officers

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner determines that a previous ruling on the matter is final.

Doug Lemna is shown during his 2011 trial in which he was acquitted of assaulting a suspect during an arrest.

Doug Lemna is shown during his 2011 trial in which he was acquitted of assaulting a suspect during an arrest.

A public hearing has been dropped for two Abbotsford Police officers who, during a drug arrest, were filmed by a citizen who later posted the video on YouTube.

Consts. Doug Lemna and Daryl Young were scheduled to have the hearing conducted through the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC), but a legal matter delayed the proceedings.

Lemna and Young had been filmed in October 2009 after detaining two men during what was believed to be a drug transaction in Ravine Park.

They arrested the alleged buyer, trafficker and another man. Force was used during and following the arrest.

An internal investigation was conducted by the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) to determine whether the force was excessive.

In December 2010, the investigation concluded that the allegations could not be substantiated against Lemna, but could be against Young.

A copy of the decision was forwarded to the OPCC, which issued a notice of public hearing for the two officers.

Lemna then filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court to have the hearing quashed,  claiming that police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe did not follow proper protocol, under the Police Act, when he ordered the hearing.

A subsection of the act states that a decision of the “discipline authority” – in this case, the APD – is final when a finding is made of no misconduct.

The OPCC withdrew the hearing for Lemna and Young following a decision in a similar case that went through the B.C. Court of Appeal in March of this year.

In that case, the courts agreed that a decision of the discipline authority is “final and conclusive.”

The OPCC orders public hearings into matters involving misconduct of municipal officers when it deems it “necessary in the public interest,” according to the agency’s website.

Hearings determine whether there has been any misconduct on the part of the officer and, if so, what disciplinary measures should follow.

Lemna was the subject of a criminal trial in April 2011, when he was acquitted of assault in a different matter. In that case, he placed the toe of his boot on the face of a screaming suspect who was lying on the ground while being detained by police.

The judge acquitted Lemna, saying no injuries were reported by or to the suspect, and Lemna was justified in using the “minimal amount” of force to get the suspect to stop screaming.