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Disgraced police officer's appeal seeks demotion, not dismissal

In appeal documents, Corey McArthur claims past criminal conviction shouldn't have been considered in sentencing
20180727 assault

A Guelph police officer who assaulted a teenager handcuffed to a hospital bed in 2016 believes a past criminal conviction and a previously dropped charge against him – both for assault – shouldn’t have been considered when his sentence for professional misconduct was handed down.

On Oct. 26, Const. Corey McArthur was given seven days to resign from Guelph Police Service (GPS) or be fired. He has appealed that ruling.

In a notice of appeal submitted to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) on Oct. 31 and obtained by GuelphToday on Nov. 24, McArthur states his belief that hearing officer Terence Kelly made multiple errors in law when determining sentencing, which is described as “harsh and excessive.”

Kelly failed to adequately recognize the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder – for which McArthur was diagnosed after the hospital assault – as well as the officer’s potential for reform, and unspecified systemic failures within GPS, the appeal notice claims.

It further alleges Kelly was wrong to declare the value of McArthur’s continued service to the public and future court testimony to be “compromised.”

The OCPC is asked to convert the sentence to one of demotion, with the officer allowed to return to work, in combination with monitoring and support conditions. No date has been set for the appeal.

McArthur pleaded guilty to discreditable conduct under the OPA in 2018, resulting in the sentencing hearing that wrapped up last month and is now under appeal. He also pleaded guilty to a criminal assault charge stemming from the incident, receiving a conditional discharge, three years of probation and was ordered to perform 240 hours of community service.

"The penalty must be serious enough to deter others from ever considering acting in a similar manner," wrote Kelly in handing down the PSA sentence. "The extent of Constable McArthur’s conduct was to such a degree that the suitability of him remaining an officer in this police service has been nullified.

"He denied his oath of office and neither this police service, nor the community it serves, can or will tolerate a law enforcement officer acting in such a prescribed manner."

McArthur’s previous criminal assault conviction relates to his actions during the 2008 arrest of a man in Downtown Guelph. McArthur received an absolute discharge for that incident and was subsequently docked 10 days pay as a result of PSA charges that followed.

He also faced a private citizen’s charge of assault causing bodily harm in 2012 that was later dropped.

McArthur, who joined Guelph police in 2001, has been on paid leave since shortly after the 2016 hospital assault.