Halifax police officer found guilty of assaulting homeless man outside shelter


A Halifax police officer has been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm after security video showed a homeless man being punched while kneeling in front of the officer.

Justice Laurie Halfpenny-MacQuarrie ruled in Halifax provincial court today that Const. Laurence Gary Basso assaulted Patrice Simard while attempting to remove him from the parking lot of the Metro Turning Point shelter last year.

The Halifax police said in a brief statement that the conviction of one of its officers "is troubling" and that an investigation under the Police Act that had been on hold during the court proceedings will now resume.

Much of the trial hinged on roughly 15 minutes of security footage that showed the exchange between the officer and Simard, who was sitting outside the shelter on Feb. 25 after being asked to leave due to drinking in his bed.

The video showed that Basso initially remained in his vehicle talking to Simard, but then he emerged from his car and during a conversation, he punched Simard in the head.

The homeless man dropped to the ground and didn't move for about 10 seconds. The trial heard that medical records showed Simard's nose was broken following the incident.