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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Judge clears Winnipeg police officer accused of aggravated assault

WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg police officer accused of assaulting a prisoner in a holding room has been cleared.

A Queen's Bench judge found Const. Ryan Law not guilty of aggravated assault on Monday.

Law was accused of beating Henry Lavallee and kicking him in the stomach in November 2008 following the man's arrest on a number of charges.

Lavallee needed emergency surgery to repair two tears in his bowel.

Law testified at his trial that he didn't harm Lavallee in any way.

Justice Joan McKelvey ruled the officer's testimony was credible.

Law was arrested in 2009 after an internal investigation.

Dr. Ethel MacIntosh told court during the trial that she examined Lavallee, but there was nothing obvious to suggest how his bowel was torn. She said the injury generally was consistent with what would happen if someone were kicked in the stomach.

A key element to the Crown's case was being able to prove Lavallee's injury occurred during a specific timeline of events.

MacIntosh said Lavallee's injury got worse as time went on and had been inflicted in the 24 hours before he underwent surgery.

"This was a very acute, progressive injury. This was not something that had been smouldering over days,'' she said. "It was a very fresh injury.''

Defence lawyer Saul Simmonds challenged the doctor's testimony. He said she told one investigator in a December 2008 statement that Lavallee's injury was a "small perforation," then told court it was a "large hole.''

Simmonds also pointed out that MacIntosh admitted she couldn't tell if it was a kick that caused the abdominal injury.

(CJOB, The Canadian Press)

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