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Witness in Toronto police corruption trial says he didn't lie about beating

Christopher Quigley, witness in the trial against five former drug squad officers charged on alleged falsification of notes, assaults on drug dealers and illegal searches walks out of the University Ave. Courthouse, Toronto Jan. 16, 2012.

Fernando Morales/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

A key witness for the prosecution in the trial of five police officers accused of corruption denied lying to his loved ones about his arrest as the defence worked Thursday to cast doubt on his testimony.

"You were lying to the people closest to you about what happened," lawyer John Rosen told Christopher Quigley during a heated cross-examination.

Mr. Rosen argued that Mr. Quigley, a one-time, small-scale pot dealer, told his father the police had broken into his apartment while looking for drugs and assaulted him.

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"No. Sorry. Wrong. I didn't say they broke into the apartment while I was there," said Quigley.

Mr. Rosen also suggested Mr. Quigley lied to his girlfriend, saying he'd been pulled over for speeding, when in reality he was arrested for possession of stolen sunglasses.

"I deny that," Mr. Quigley said on the second day of cross-examination.

Earlier this week, Mr. Quigley described a vicious beating he says he received while in police custody, as several police officers allegedly kicked and punched him until he lost consciousness.

He has testified they beat him to try to extort money and drugs from him, something the Crown argues was a frequent practice of the five accused.

Mr. Rosen, who represents the drug unit's boss John Schertzer, also suggested Mr. Quigley gave a faulty account of his arrest when he testified he wasn't told he was under arrest or allowed to contact a lawyer as he was thrown in the back of an unmarked car and taken to a police station by plainclothes officers.

"You have been arrested by police, and now you have an opportunity to start thinking about how this is going to affect the rest of your life," Mr. Rosen said.

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"You're thinking, this isn't just about sunglasses, this is about drugs. My whole life is about to unravel."

It was testy second day of cross-examination for Mr. Quigley, with both he and Mr. Rosen interrupting and snapping at each other, as Quigley contested the defence's account of events and a depiction of himself as a big-time drug dealer with a history of getting in trouble with the law and having an overactive imagination.

"You were no novice at this," Mr. Rosen said of the arrest.

"You had been arrested when you were 17 years old."

"Right. And how old was I at that parking lot?," Mr. Quigley shot back.

"That was 20 years ago."

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Charges in the case against Schertzer, Ned Maodus, Steven Correia, Joseph Miched and Raymond Pollard were first laid in 2004, but delays have slowed the case's progress through the courts.

The Crown alleges the former Toronto drug squad officers showed a pattern of violence, beating up and intimidating suspects, stealing from them, and then lying to prosecutors to cover their tracks.

Mr. Quigley has testified his the attack was unprovoked and began when Schertzer hit him across the face in a common room of the police station.

He alleges he was later subjected to three sets of beatings by Maodus and another officer who is not part of the trial, while Correia helped transport him in and out of the interrogation room during the nine-hour detention, at times having to hold him up because he couldn't walk.

He also said that only a portion of the $54,000 the officers seized from him was eventually returned, since they logged that there was only $22,850 in the safety deposit box with the money.

The men have all pleaded not guilty and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

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