June 28, 1996

John Hamilton
Free Press Reporter

p. B2.


Gateman lawyer wants case halted

The London police constable is charged with sexual assault.

A controversial sex assault case against a disgraced London police officer is built on unfairness and should be halted, his lawyer charged Thursday.

Fletcher Dawson made the argument on the eighth and final day of a defence pre-trial motion to stay sex assault charges against Const. Jeffery Gateman and his friend Mark Vansickle.

Dawson said the case for the joint sex charge was largely based on "tainted" details from a Police Services Act hearing when Gateman pleaded guilty to misconduct after being told there would be no criminal charges.

"The case was born out of unfairness, is nourished by it and grows every day it continues," Dawson told Justice Dougald McDermid.

The two men were charged after a 17-year-old female escort was delivered to the London home of Gateman on June 6, 1994.

Gateman was then a 24-year-old four year member of London police. He and Vansickle, then 23 and of Chesley, were arrested after the escort alleged she was forced to submit to oral, anal and vaginal sex.

She reported the two attackers said they were police officers and would charge her with prostitution unless she co-operated.

DEMOTED: Gateman was demoted from first to third-class constable at a police disciplinary hearing on June 30, 1994, when he pleaded guilty to Police Act charges of bringing discredit to the force.

The demotion cost him about $18,000 in pay.

When no criminal charges were laid against the two men, the escort laid a private information alleging sex-related charges.

Other sex charges were later laid after a police watchdog, the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), investigated.

Gateman and Vansickle have since been committed to stand trial only on one joint charge, sexual assault.

Evidence had been that London police investigators hadn't believed they had grounds to lay a charge and the advice of two senior crown officials was there was little prospect of getting a conviction.

The credibility of the complainant has been the key issue.

While charges are rarely stayed, the defence team of Dawson and Rob Farrington have argued the charge is an abuse of process and the accused men's charter rights have been violated.

But John Pearson, a lawyer for the Ministry of the Attorney General, argued Thursday all the details should be heard and decided at a public trial.

"It would shock the conscience of this community if an individual can't be held accountable for what he's done," he said.

McDermid reserved decision on the motion, saying he would likely announce it before the second week in September.

More about Gateman case... [News by region] [News by topic]

Created: January 15, 1997
Last modified: May 5, 1997

CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710