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Toronto G20 activist to launch $4-million lawsuit against officer, police forces and province

An undercover provincial police officer drove drunk, gave alcohol to minors, staged a fake illegal cigarette buy and encouraged protesters to damage property during an investigation before the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, an Ontario activist alleges in a lawsuit.

These accusations – which have not been tested in court – are contained in a Notice of Claim for a $4-million suit by Julian Ichim against the officer, Constable Bindo Showan, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Services Board and the provincial Attorney-General.

On Wednesday, Mr. Ichim served the Attorney-General's office with the Notice of Claim; the Statement of Claim will be filed at Superior Court within 60 days, his legal team said.

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Constable Showan posed as an activist in Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph for about a year and a half before the G20. He befriended protest organizers and attended meetings to plan demonstrations against the summit and the Vancouver Olympics.

A spokesman for the OPP said the force would not comment on a case before the courts.

Ministry is in receipt of a notice of claim in this matter, said Attorney-General's spokesman Brendan Crawley in an e-mail. "If an action is commenced we will defend the action."

Mr. Ichim, who helped organize an anti-G20 protest, was arrested on June 26, 2010 and charged with conspiracy to commit mischief. His charges were withdrawn a few months later. Mr. Ichim says his arrest was illegal and was meant solely to stop him from taking part in activism.

Mr. Ichim alleges Constable Showan, who went by the alias "Khalid Mohammed" while undercover, went beyond what was necessary in his investigation in the extent to which he became involved in the activist's life.

He says Constable Showan went to great lengths – including breaking the law – to curry favour with the people he was spying on.

"Showan provided alcohol to persons who were not of age," Mr. Ichim's Notice of Claim says. "Showan drove his van while intoxicated and while under the influence of alcohol and thereby endangered [Mr. Ichim]and the public."

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During protests against the Hanlon Creek Business Park, a development in Guelph, Mr. Ichim alleges Constable Showan encouraged "violence and criminal activity," including sabotaging construction equipment.

The claim also that in Sept. 2009 Constable Showan, with the help of other officers, pretended to illegally buy nine cartons of cigarettes in Brantford, Ont., and drive them to nearby Milton to impress Mr. Ichim.

Mr. Ichim says Constable Showan also took notes on his sex life, which were presented to other defendants to embarrass him.

He also alleges the OPP used one activist, someone Mr. Ichim had known for years, as a confidential informant.

Mr. Ichim took part in protests during the week before the G20. On the Saturday morning, before the protests, he was arrested by plainclothes police at a Tim Hortons near Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto. During the arrest, Mr. Ichim alleges, officers punched and kicked him and did not inform him of his rights to remain silent and speak with a lawyer. Then, at the temporary detention centre, he says he was not allowed to speak to a lawyer and had no access to food or medical attention.

The investigation by Constable Showan and fellow OPP officer Brenda Carey ultimately led to conspiracy charges against 21 people. Fifteen of them had their charges withdrawn. Six others pleaded guilty last fall to reduced charges of counselling to commit mischief.

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Five of them were given prison sentences ranging from three months to over a year. Alex Hundert is still awaiting sentencing.

Last year, Mr. Ichim was charged with disobeying a court order for detailing his experiences with Constable Showan on his blog. At the time, the officer's name was under a court-ordered publication ban. Mr. Ichim did not refer to him by name, but by his alias, Khalid Mohammed.

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