Senior Toronto officer found guilty after G20 disciplinary hearing

TORONTO – The most senior police officer charged over mass arrests made during the Toronto’s G20 summit five years ago has been found guilty on three out of five offences at a disciplinary hearing.

Retired Ontario judge John Hamilton, who had been presiding over the case, found Supt. David Fenton guilty of two counts of unnecessary exercise of authority and one count of discreditable conduct.

Hamilton says Fenton is committed to serving the public but has a lack of understanding of the public’s right to protest.

Fenton had pleaded not guilty to five Police Services Act charges stemming from two so-called kettling incidents that occurred over the 2010 summit weekend.

The first took place when Fenton ordered officers to box in protesters in front of a downtown hotel and more than 260 people were arrested and taken to a makeshift processing centre.

The second incident occurred the next day when, six minutes after coming on shift, Fenton ordered police to keep scores of people standing for hours at a downtown intersection despite a severe thunderstorm that left them drenched.

More than 1,000 people were detained over the summit weekend in what is considered the largest mass arrest in Canada’s peacetime history. Most were released without charge.

In an interview with, Toronto criminal lawyer Roots Gadhia says Hamilton in this matter recognized these indiscriminant arrests and kettling of women, children and older people as being a serious violation of individual Charter rights.

β€œThe fact that the Toronto Police failed to recognize these rights, but also failed to communicate with protesters and give them the opportunity to disburse, was a problem,” she says.

Gadhia says it seems that Hamilton has taken the view that this was an overt abuse of authority.

“The police did not have a plan in place to deal with the crowds. Instead, they took the approach to grab and detain everyone. This military coop-style agenda is what was so very shocking,” she says. “Justice Hamilton’s decision to find this behavior both reprehensible and criminal was fair and just.”

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