Thursday, April 19, 1990

Tracy Tyler

p. A6.

Officers had rights violated, lawyers say

Two Metro police officers fired for having sex with a woman in their cruiser had their rights abused when they were secretly tape-recorded, the Metro police commission has been told.

On the tapes, former constable Rodney Pugh told the woman the best sex he ever had was with her.

Pugh, 37, and ex-constable Gordon Trumbley, 40, were fired from their $44,836 jobs in July after a police tribunal found them guilty of discreditable conduct. They refused a request to resign so the police commission suspended them without pay.

Yesterday, their lawyers were back before commission chairman June Rowlands and three other commissioners, arguing that the convictions be overturned and the officers, who worked out of 55 Division in east Toronto, be given a new hearing.

When senior Metro police officers strapped a hidden body pack tape recorder on the woman and sent her to talk to the officers after the cruiser episode, they were violating Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, said Doug Quirt, who represents Pugh.

Body taps

That section states everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. "Here we have wiretaps and body taps done by an arm of the state - the police - without the officers' knowledge," Quirt said.

If the police were trying to obtain evidence that way for a criminal case, they would have to appear before a judge or justice of the peace and prove it was necessary, he said.

Police also bugged a telephone line into the 55 Division station and got the woman, Robin Voce, to call Trumbley at work.

Voce, 24, who complaint that Trumbley and Pugh had sex with her on Feb. 8, 1984, committed suicide before the hearing ended last year.

She said the officers stopped her car on Queen St. E., then drove her to an underground garage, where they took turns having intercourse with her in the front seat of the cruiser.

Pugh said he was trying to develop Voce as an informant by telling her he had sex with her. Pugh wasn't present yesterday, but Trumbley sat to one side of the room in a gray suit.

Quirt is arguing the officers should have been tried under the Public Complaints Act instead of the Police Act. The appeal continues May 8.

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Created: April 10, 1998
Last modified: April 10, 1998

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