"This is hysterical nonsense," Fantino said Friday ... "People who know me do not hold onto these notes for later retribution," he said.Hmm ... Sounds like a threat to me! Fantino denies his own vindictiveness ... and then demonstrates it himself!!
Fantino shrugs off allegations over vendetta
ORILLIA, ONT. -- Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino boasted to a lawyer that, had he been vindictive, he could have hurt the career of one of his subordinates "with the stroke of a pen," a police disciplinary tribunal heard yesterday.
In a testy day of testimony, Commissioner Fantino shrugged off as "hysterical nonsense" allegations that he used an internal disciplinary case to wage a vendetta against some senior officers.
Appearing at a disciplinary hearing at OPP's headquarters, Commissioner Fantino curtly dismissed the allegations by defence lawyer Julian Falconer.
"It's absolutely mind-boggling disingenuousness," the OPP chief said.
Mr. Falconer represents Superintendent Ken MacDonald and Inspector Alison Jevons, two OPP officers facing disciplinary charges after a union complaint about their handling of an internal-affairs case.
In a motion to dismiss the matter, Mr. Falconer alleges that Commissioner Fantino authorized the charges and extended filing deadlines as a reprisal against Supt. MacDonald because he suspected him of leaking information about an OPP restructuring.
In addition, Mr. Falconer also alleges that Chief Superintendent Bill Grodzinski was reassigned to North Bay because he had testified that he heard the commissioner make menacing remarks about Supt. MacDonald.
Commissioner Fantino said Chief Supt. Grodzinski ultimately wasn't sent to North Bay because his wife was having health problems.
The tribunal was told yesterday of remarks that Commissioner Fantino made regarding the transfer to the case's prosecutor, Brian Gover.
"I could have done it with the stroke of the pen if I had been vindictive," Commissioner Fantino told Mr. Gover in a note read during yesterday's proceedings.
"That's how you see power?" Mr. Falconer asked after reading the note.
"If I wanted to be, yes," the commissioner replied.
He said it wasn't his problem if Chief Supt. Grodzinski perceived the North Bay posting as a retribution for his decision to testify against his boss.
"I have no control over people who are paranoid," Commissioner Fantino said.
At one point, the commissioner angered tribunal adjudicator Mr. Justice Leonard Montgomery when Commissioner Fantino appeared to adjust his afternoon testimony in light of objections that took place in his absence from the hearing.
Commissioner Fantino was being questioned about why he extended deadlines in the case so that the two officers could be charged after the cut-off dates ran out.
Barely containing his annoyance, the judge said he wasn't accusing the prosecutors of tipping the witness during the break, but added that the commissioner's behaviour raised questions about his professional conduct.
Several times, the commissioner dismissed Mr. Falconer's questions with sarcastic comments. When the lawyer objected, he shot back, "Well, sir, you never cease to do it to me."
Mr. Falconer alleges in a motion to dismiss the case that Commissioner Fantino had a grudge against Supt. MacDonald because he wrongfully thought he was behind the damaging leak.