MISSISSAUGA — Charges of perjury and obstructing justice laid against a veteran Peel Regional Police officer in connection with his testimony as a key Crown witness at the drug-trial of a fellow officer, have been dismissed.
Superior court records show that the charges against Det. Warren Williams, who has been on the force 24 years, were dismissed last year by Justice Giselle Miller.
Both Williams and Det. Marty Rykhoff, who testified in the trial of Const. Sheldon Cook, were disciplined under the Police Services Act.
Rykhoff wasn’t charged criminally.
Cook remains employed as a Peel Regional Police officer as his case makes its way through Ontario’s top court.
He was found guilty in 2010 of unlawful attempt to possess an illegal substance for the purpose of trafficking, three counts of breach of trust, theft and unlawful possession of stolen property, and possession of marijuana after court heard he stole what he thought was cocaine during a botched drug sting.
Peel Police have said they will address Cook’s employment with the organization after the appeals process has been completed.
The Ontario Court of Appeal said today they have yet to set a date to hear Cook’s appeal because it has yet to be “perfected.” He remains out on bail pending appeal.
In 2010, Cook, 47, was sentenced to a jail term of five years and eight months by Justice Casey Hill after his convictions.
“As a police officer, the offender knew that possession of about a pound of marijuana was more than a trifling breach of the Canada Drugs and Substances Act and completely antithetical to the oath of his office as a sworn peace officer,” Hill said earlier in court.
Cook insisted he was following orders when he took bricks of fake cocaine to his Cambridge home. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The bricks were part of a controlled drug sting led by the RCMP.
In his judgment, Hill described Rykhoff as an “unimpressive witness” who lied during his testimony, noting the Crown later believed he was involved with Cook in “skimming” a number of bricks of suspected cocaine from “the bad guys’ load.”
Hill said Williams also misled the court and investigating officers but felt he was driven by a “dangerous and warped code” of behaviour to not tell on fellow officers.
He didn’t believe Williams was involved in the conspiracy to steal any of the packages of suspected cocaine.
Hill found no evidence to conclude Williams and Rykhoff colluded to tailor their evidence to frame Cook, as defence lawyer Patrick Ducharme maintained.
As a result of Cook’s arrest, the federal justice department decided not to prosecute at least six drug cases where Cook was the arresting officer.
A month after he was charged, a Peel judge acquitted former Toronto Argonauts football player Orlando Bowen of drug charges and assaulting police. The charges were laid by Cook and another officer. Bowen alleged at his trial that Cook planted cocaine on him during his arrest.