By Curtis Rush
A judge has dismissed the appeal of a Toronto police officer who was convicted of assault and sexual assault for squeezing a man’s testicles.
However, Justice Faye McWatt ruled that Salameh Marji could serve his sentence on weekends.
A 12-month probation order and a DNA order remain in effect.
Marji was working for the police service’s Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (Facebook) unit when he assaulted a man by squeezing his testicles on Sept. 2, 2009.
He was sentenced to 30 days in jail on Feb. 15, 2012 by Justice Lucia Favret, who admonished the officer because “he abused his position of authority,” while weighing the fact that Marji has a great reputation as an officer and as a community volunteer.
Marji’s lawyer, Alan Gold, argued that there were grounds for appeal because of errors committed by the trial judge, including lengthy delays. He also called into question some evidence relied upon by the Crown.
Marji’s trial heard that he grabbed the 18-year-old victim by the testicles and squeezed them while asking, “How does that feel?”
The victim, now 20, was studying biochemistry at university and did not have a criminal record. The Star does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The victim was pulled over by the TAVIS unit in an area known for drug trafficking and gang violence.
Police later learned that he worked as a sales representative at a cell phone store.
A physician who examined the victim testified at the trial that there was bruising on his left wrist, tenderness on his left thigh and knee and tenderness under his right scrotum.
The complainant and a friend were travelling westbound on Lawrence Ave. at up to 75 km/h when two vehicles quickly approached from behind. He turned onto a side street and entered a driveway, where his path was blocked by police.
The victim and his friend got out of the car and a sergeant began yelling at them, according to court records.
Marji and other officers soon arrived. Marji and the sergeant began searching the victim, who was handcuffed.
Marji then squeezed the victim’s testicles once. He let go and then got a better grip and squeezed again.
The victim was shaking and screaming in pain, court heard.
The victim was crying and the police were laughing at him.
Marji has been suspended without pay since Feb. 15. He now is subject to internal discipline and could be fired.
He faces four discreditable conduct charges at an internal hearing on Dec. 12.