Last Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | 5:47 PM ET
The Canadian Press
Ontario’s highest court has dismissed a former Cornwall, Ont., police officer’s appeals of his contempt convictions.
Perry Dunlop called the seven months he served in jail for refusing to testify at a public inquiry largely of his own making “cruel and unusual punishment.”
He was found guilty of civil contempt in November 2007 and sentenced to six months behind bars after refusing to answer questions at the Cornwall Public Inquiry, which was looking into the way authorities responded to widespread allegations of sexual abuse in the Eastern Ontario community. He had been summoned to the inquiry from his home in B.C.
Dunlop, who blew the whistle on the apparent coverup of a sexual abuse case that eventually led to the inquiry, was found guilty of criminal contempt in March 2008 and sentenced to a further 30 days in jail.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario, in dismissing Dunlop’s criminal and civil appeals, said Dunlop was given numerous opportunities to make submissions at the inquiry and purge his contempt.Dunlop had also claimed that he was unlawfully arrested and denied his right to fundamental justice, which the court called “spurious.”
Dunlop was told back in 1993 that the local Catholic diocese had paid a former altar boy $32,000 to drop his sexual abuse complaint against two priests. He passed the complaint on to the Children’s Aid Society against orders from his superiors, leading to an OPP investigation and eventually the public inquiry.
Dunlop said he believed the inquiry was not about finding the truth and his refusal to testify was because he had lost faith in a justice system that treated him as a bad guy.