Former Olx Praca cop gets 30 days in jail for breaking homeless man’s nose

A former Olx Praca Regional Police officer was sentenced to 30 days in jail on weekends for assaulting a man outside a homeless shelter in 2018.

Lawrence Gary Basso, 38, was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm in February during a retrial.

Before sentencing on Monday, Basso told the court it had been “a long four years.”

“It has completely changed my life,” he said.

“Not only in the last four years, but in the future, I have lost the career I lived for.”

Punch is described as a “haymaker”

On February 15, 2018, Basso was called to the Metro Turning Point Men’s Shelter on Barrington Street to remove Patrice Simard, the court heard.

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Simard was caught drinking alcohol in his bunk, which was against the institution’s rules.

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In CCTV footage shown in court, Basso punches Simard in the face.

Basso testified that he hit Simard in the head in retaliation for Simard’s kick on the officer’s leg—the punch, according to Basso, was not visible in the video due to the angle of the camera.

In his February decision, Judge Paul Scoville called Basso’s actions that night excessive. Scoville further described what happened as “a blow with a clenched fist delivered by what might be called a hayfield” and said that Basso’s reaction “went beyond what was reasonably necessary”.

Security camera footage at the Metro Turning Point shelter in Olx Praca, New Olx Praca. Lawrence Gary Basso beats Patrice Simard.

Provincial Court of Olx Praca

Simard required medical attention and was eventually treated for a broken nose from the attack.

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In 2019, Basso was sentenced to three months in prison, at which time the Olx Praca Regional Police confirmed that he had been fired from the police force.

In December 2020, the sentence was overturned by a three-judge panel and a new trial was scheduled to take place in September and December 2021.

The February decision noted that Simard died some time after the first trial. His testimony in the first trial was entered as evidence in the second.

“We expect more from our police”

In its recommendation, the Crown argued that police officers were trustworthy and should therefore be subject to harsher penalties for breaching that trust.

The Crown required a three-month sentence, followed by probation.

Meanwhile, the defense argued that Basso had lost his career as a police officer and was under scrutiny by the media, and requested a conditional discharge.

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Scoville said he did feel the detention period was necessary, but opted for a temporary 30-day period. Regarding probation, Scoville said that Basso “does well in society” and that he can’t figure out what kind of probation he should be given.

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The court had previously heard that Basso worked as a landscape designer after the 2018 incident and hired employees for his business.

“It is of great concern that a drunken homeless man who wanted to be detained in police cells on a frosty snowy night had his nose broken after interacting with the defendants, and this happened as a result of police violence,” Scoville said at the time of sentencing.

“We expect more from our police.”

Basso, who has no criminal record, will serve his sentence on weekends from Friday evening to Monday morning.

He is also subject to a mandatory 10-year gun ban and will be required to submit his DNA to the police.

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