Exonerated, a senior SPVM officer wants to know why he was demoted

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Exonerated, a senior SPVM officer wants to know why he was demoted

Imad Sawaya was demoted from the rank of inspector to that of lieutenant at the SPVM .

Radio-Canada has learned that the president of the executive committee and the interim director of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) will be questioned in the coming weeks by the lawyers of a senior officer who is preparing to sue the City. for constructive dismissal.

Imad Sawaya, the senior officer in question, was suspended with pay in October 2017, during the crisis of confidence that shook the SPVM.

< p class="e-p">Mr. Sawaya is stepping up legal action against the City to return to work, now that he has been cleared by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) of charges of fraud for overtime and bonuses collected which weighed against him.

He is now challenging a decision of the executive committee to have demoted him, on April 27, from the rank of inspector to that of lieutenant. He wants to know the reasons that led the City of Montreal to take such a disciplinary decision.

According to our information, the City accuses him of professional misconduct that occurred in 2015.

In a decision rendered on November 8, the Quebec Court of Appeal authorized Imad Sawaya to question the president of the executive committee, Dominique Ollivier, and the interim director of the SPVM, Sophie Roy, who took office one week before the vote in the executive committee.

“Mr. Sawaya's lawyer says he wants to get to the heart of the executive committee's decision. He pleads to ignore the reasons which led to the decision not to reinstate the police officer to a position of the same level. »

— Excerpt from a judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal, November 8, 2022

Suspended with pay for more than five years, Mr. Sawaya is the former chief of staff of deposed police director Philippe Pichet.

It should be remembered that, to gather possible evidence, the Sûreté du Québec had conducted a historic search of the SPVM headquarters in October 2017.

Despite the spectacular side of the case at the time, the elephant had given birth to a mouse: the DPCP exonerated Mr. Sawaya after a criminal investigation lasting several months.

“Through her participation on the Executive Committee, Ms. Ollivier is undoubtedly the one who has the best knowledge of the facts that led to the decision endorsing the recommendation not to reinstate Mr. Sawaya to the position he claims. Moreover, reacting to an intervention of the Tribunal, it is the person who, if there was only one to authorize, is the choice of counsel for Mr. Sawaya. »

— Excerpt from a judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal, November 8, 2022

Recall that Imad Sawaya had applied to the Court of Quebec to order the SPVM to reinstate him as an inspector after being cleared. However, the court rejected his request and concluded that he could not intervene, because a disciplinary committee had yet to rule on his employee file.

“The same is true of Ms. Roy, who has been in office since April 22, 2022, five days before the decision of the executive committee. Mr. Caron refers to this witness during his examination on discovery, she who succeeded him at the direction of the SPVM. His examination for discovery is therefore authorized, but must relate only to the facts to his knowledge until April 27, 2022.”

— Excerpt from a judgment of the Court of Appeal of Quebec, November 8, 2022

The lawyers also wanted to question the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, and the assistant director associated with urban security, Martin Prud'homme, but the court did not recognize the relevance for the civil lawsuit. for constructive dismissal that Imad Sawaya intends to file.

Taking into account the guiding principles of civil procedure, allowing Ms. Plante and Mr. Prud'homme to be questioned beforehand would go to the counter to a healthy administration of justice, can we read in the conclusions of the judge. There can be no question of holding the trial before the trial, can we read in the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Civil action for constructive dismissal should be filed next March against the City of Montreal.

Imad Sawaya did not respond to our questions.

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