Const. Staci Tyldseley was a member of the ACTION team accused of writing fake tickets. - Hamilton Spectator file photo

Const. Staci Tyldseley was a member of the ACTION team accused of writing fake tickets. – Hamilton Spectator file photo

A Hamilton police officer, among a group of former ACTION team members accused of writing fake tickets, has lost her bid to have her criminal charges stayed.

Staci Tyldesley had argued her rights to a fair trial were violated when she was subpoenaed to testify at the trial against the other officers last year.

But Ontario Superior Court Justice Gerald Taylor disagreed, dismissing her bid to have the case tossed out before her own trial next month.

Tyldesley is the fifth and final officer to face criminal charges in the high-profile case against the former ACTION unit officers accused of writing made-up tickets. These tickets named known “regulars” downtown, who court heard were largely vulnerable people frequently ticketed by police on everything from drinking in public to riding a bike on the sidewalk.

The case has led to debate about the value of the Addressing Crime Trends in Our Neighbourhoods unit, which patrols on foot or by bike largely in the downtown.

The other four officers had a joint trial that began in November and ended in April with all found not guilty. But Tyldesley elected to be tried separately in Superior Court.

Tyldesley was subpoenaed by the prosecution during that other trial and testified in November.

“Staci Tyldesley argues that her right to remain silent was breached by being called as a witness,” says the recently released Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision.

“She says that the reason the Crown called her as a witness … was to obtain evidence to be used at her trial to secure a conviction.”

During part of the questioning, she relied on personal notes, which were then submitted into evidence. The prosecution did not have these notes before this.

Her lawyer, Jeff Manishen, argued in court that by being called as a witness, Tyldesley was forced to “disclose her defence.”

Manishen declined to comment to The Spectator about the judge’s decision.

Taylor disagreed with Tyldesley’s argument, finding that her evidence was relevant to the charges against the other officers and that she was not questioned in great detail about her own charges while on the stand.

There is legal precedent that can protect Tyldesley’s notes and her testimony from being used as evidence against her at her own trial, he added. Taylor, however, said he did “not want to be taken as approving of the conduct of the Crown.”

Court heard that when Tyldesley was subpoenaed, her lawyer asked the Crown about what questions would be asked. The Crown replied that the prosecution has the right to “ambush witnesses.”

“The request by her counsel for an opportunity to prepare her for testifying was a reasonable request and in my view should have been answered with a detailed list of the topics to be address rather than the impertinent comment,” Taylor said.

Tyldesley is charged with obstructing justice, forgery and seven counts of fabricating evidence. Her trial is set to begin Nov. 20.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator