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Judge orders partial acquittal in Toronto police corruption trial

Steven Correia, who was charged with conspiracy to attempt to obstruct justice, attempt to obstruct justice, extortion, theft over $5,000 and perjury, is photographed leaving court in Toronto, Ont. on January 16, 2012.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

An Ontario judge has ordered that a group of former Toronto drug squad officers should be acquitted in five of the 14 counts they face.

John Schertzer, Raymond Pollard, Steven Correia, Ned Maodus and Joseph Miched face a variety of corruption-related charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, assault causing bodily harm and extortion.

It is alleged that they illegally searched homes, stole money or jewellery from suspects, and lied about their actions to prosecutors.

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Last week, the Crown announced it would not proceed on three counts of perjury and two counts of obstruction of justice, Mr. Schertzer's defence lawyer, John Rosen, said. The judge ordered the acquittals on Monday.

"All I can say, is that the Crown's position is consistent with an absence of evidence on those counts," Mr. Rosen said outside of court. "There was no evidence."

Crown attorney John Pearson told the jury in his opening argument that the former officers were involved in an ongoing conspiracy and "tried to cover their tracks and tried to protect each other from the reach of the law."

The officers were charged almost eight years ago, following a special internal task force investigation. All have pleaded not guilty.

With files from Shannon Kari

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