We spent the holidays at my sister’s place this year, which means I got to spend some time with my four-year-old niece, Julia.
One afternoon during my visit I came upon Julia as she was playing in the family room and found her covered in paint and happily smearing it all over the coffee table with her hands. She had taken her paint tubes off the shelf, opened them and proceeded to turn the coffee table into a work of modern art, aka a big goddamn mess. I looked at her, she looked at me, and I asked her why she had poured paint everywhere. “I didn’t”, she replied.
(For a second, I was really hoping she would appeal to me that “the evidence is circumstantial at best!”. Some day…)
“Oh no?” I inquired. She proceeded to look me in the eyes and tell me the paint bottles had fallen over and made the mess all by themselves and that she was simply trying to clean it up. How can you even be mad at that? (Apparently quite easily it turns out, going by my sister’s reaction).
But you have to admire the boldness of such a defense…well, when it’s being made by a four year old, anyway.
It turns out this sort of brazen defense is considerably less adorable when it involves a police officer charged with sexual assault while on duty. Case in point:
A Toronto, Ontario police officer, Det.-Const. Mandip Sandhu, walked into a massage parlour while on duty, purportedly to check their license, and instead decided to give police officers everywhere a little refresher on exactly how not to do your job correctly. Mr Sandhu is, er, quite thorough, as he apparently wandered into one of the rooms, lay down on the table, unzipped his fly and forced a masseuse to perform oral sex on him.
However the quick-thinking masseuse spat the “DNA evidence” into a towel, which was later presented in court by the prosecutors.
What is even more appalling is that Sandhu actually claimed that HE was the victim. He stood in the courtroom, covered in paint, looked the judge in the eye and explained that the petite 44-year old masseuse had forced herself on him and that he was basically helpless to stop her.
Sandhu had been in plain clothes and claimed (contrary to the masseuse’s version of events) that he didn’t identify himself as a police officer in the hopes that he would catch the masseuse trying to offer a sex act. And then, according to him, when she actually did (apparently skipping the entire massage pretense altogether and getting right down to business), he pretty much just said “ah what the heck…”
He also supposedly claimed that he was shocked and surprised when she made advances so he had a lapse of judgement and submitted to them. That’s right, he alleged he was so shocked that she did exactly what he was hoping she would so he could bust her that he decided to just go along with it instead.
Yes, that was his actual legal defense.
Admittedly, given officer Sandhu’s actions, there likely wasn’t much else that could be said.
In any case, the judge — unsurprisingly — didn’t buy his story and he was convicted and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Thankfully, the vast majority of police officers are upstanding individuals, but we can only hope that this serves as an example for any like-minded police officers to keep their investigations by the book.
Guest contributor Simon Alexander is an Ottawa personal injury lawyer. Although Simon enjoys writing and does his best to be funny, he is certainly better at being an attorney than he is at writing.