Thursday, June 4, 2009

OPP asks if tow-truck firms paid off policeman!

I can't help but snicker at this situation as a whole, right from the very night that the Manchesters were killed in a collision in Conservative Frank Klees riding to Sgt. Dennis Mahoney-Bruer being charged last week, The whole thing stinks!
It was only after the legislation was passed that it became known that Mr. Manchester was twice over the legal limit that night, that left his daughter an orphan, whom became a poster child for BILL203

In my opinion, this SGT who is Suspended with pay until he's found guilty in a court of law, not on the side of the road, like his victims, is just the tip of the iceberg!

Jun 04, 2009 04:30 AM
Kenyon Wallace
Staff Reporter

The OPP is investigating whether a senior officer at the force's Port Credit detachment received kickbacks from tow-truck drivers after motorists had their vehicles impounded, according to towing companies interviewed by police.

Sgt. Dennis Mahoney-Bruer, 49, was arrested and charged last week with three counts of breach of trust and one count of attempting to obstruct justice after an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police Professional Standards Bureau.

The OPP says Mahoney-Bruer, a 12-year member of the force, allegedly used false evidence to lay charges last month against three drivers, two of whom had their cars impounded.

He has not been charged with accepting kickbacks. However, owners and managers of Mississauga towing companies say OPP detectives have been asking them if they had ever paid Mahoney-Bruer to use their services or heard about Mahoney-Bruer allegedly receiving kickbacks from other towing companies.

The officer has been suspended from duty with pay.

Mahoney-Bruer's lawyer, Harry Black, declined to comment to the Star about the case. Several phone calls to Mahoney-Bruer's Burlington home were not returned. Attempts to speak to Mahoney-Bruer in person at his home were unsuccessful.

The charges against Mahoney-Bruer stem from three incidents in May in which one driver was charged with speeding and two drivers were charged with "stunt" driving – travelling 50 kilometres an hour over the speed limit.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, motorists caught travelling 50 kilometres over the speed limit face a mandatory seven-day licence suspension and roadside vehicle seizure, in addition to fines between $2,000 and $10,000. Add to that the cost of towing and storage, and a potential increase to insurance rates.

Introduced in October 2007, the law was hailed by OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino as a tough measure to combat dangerous driving.

Critics say the legislation gives police too much power, allowing them to find drivers guilty before they have a chance to fight the charge in court.

In court documents, Mahoney-Bruer has been told not to communicate with six people, including Mark Bell and Doug Polus.

Bell owns Atlantic Towing and Polus runs Elite Towing, both in Mississauga.

When contacted yesterday, Bell said he didn't know why his name was on the court documents, but suggested it was because he owns "one of the biggest towing companies in Mississauga."

He said he had been interviewed by police, but was not asked about whether money changed hands.

"They asked me how many tows I did for that guy (Mahoney-Bruer) in a certain amount of time," Bell said. "But let me just make something very clear to you. All of it's rumour and there's no facts. I know nothing about it and it doesn't involve our company."

Polus said he has "no clue" why his name appears in Mahoney-Bruer's court documents, and said he had not been interviewed by police.

Other tow truck companies in Mississauga say they too were visited by detectives prior to the charges being laid against Mahoney-Bruer.

"Investigators came to my shop from the OPP asking about him (Mahoney-Bruer)," said Joe Mghraye, owner of Affordable Towing. "They asked me if I ever gave Mahoney cash. It never happened. They asked me, `Have you ever seen other companies doing that?' I said no."

Lisa Goncalves, a manager at Abrams Towing Services, said OPP detectives interviewed her last week and asked her if the company had ever paid money to Mahoney-Bruer for using the company's towing services. She said no.

According to the OPP, Mahoney-Bruer's full name is Leslie Dennis Mahoney-Bruer.

A Toronto Police Service spokesperson said yesterday that Leslie Mahoney-Bruer worked for the force as a traffic services officer but resigned in October 1997.

OPP spokesperson Insp. Dave Ross said police are working with the Crown to withdraw charges laid against the three drivers by Mahoney-Bruer.

Ross said the force is also reviewing other charges where Mahoney-Bruer was involved as an investigator, but "we haven't yet determined the scope of that review."

In a statement released last week, Fantino said he was "very disappointed" by the outcome of the OPP Professional Standards Bureau investigation.

"It was important for the OPP to initiate an immediate investigation and a comprehensive review, with the intent to bolster safeguards, to prevent similar situations in the future," Fantino said. "I believe that the public trust is a fundamental cornerstone of the OPP and policing."

Mahoney-Bruer will appear in a Brampton court on July 13.

The Toronto Star

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