OPP constable sentenced to 12-month driving ban, fine
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:44AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:23AM EDT
An Essex County OPP officer has been sentenced after he was found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Constable Jamie Porto has been sentenced to a 12 month driving ban, no probation and a $2,500 fine.
Justice Bruce Thomas announced his ruling in court on Wednesday morning.
On Oct. 24, 2014, Porto was involved in a collision involving his police cruiser and another vehicle at County Road 42 and County Road 3 in St. Joachim.
Porto was responding to a call of a woman in distress and court heard his vehicle was travelling at 178 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone when the crash occurred.
Porto broke his hand in the crash while the driver of the other vehicle sustained two cracked ribs and a concussion.
Justice Thomas was critical of the OPP for not having a written policy for how fast officers can respond to an accident.
But Sgt. Peter Leon tells CTV News the OPP has safeguards in place that utilize Global Positioning Systems to ensure that their officers are operating their vehicles at speeds which are safe for the area.
Crown attorney Peter Crutton declined to comment on the sentence.
Porto's defence lawyer Dan Scott suggests the sentence could have an impact on how fast police officers respond in emergencies.
In fact, since Porto's conviction in December, Scott says he has spoken with several officers who say they will not speed excessively to the scene of an emergency.
"Why would a police officer rush to any scene because if they're 30 kilometers over the speed limit, they meet the threshold for dangerous driving" says Scott.
The OPP has now launched an investigation into Porto's actions, under the Police Services Act. Scott expects his 34-year-old client could be charged with conduct unbecoming of an officer.
CTV News also asked Scott if he is considering an appeal of both the conviction and sentence.
Scott says that's a decision for the Ontario Provincial Police Association.
CTV News reached out to the Association and members of the OPPA board are now reviewing the judge's decision.