Paul Haggis found liable in rape case; hit with $7.5-million judgment and more to come
The former head of the Toronto Fire Department and a former employee of the Toronto Police Service were found liable for the rape of a woman in a Toronto courtroom Tuesday.
Paul Haggis, 60, was found guilty on a single count of sexual assault and was suspended from the position of head of the Toronto Fire Department pending an appeal.
Lawyers for Haggis and Haggis’ lawyer, Anthony Leung, will appeal the decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
In court, Haggis was fined $100 and he will be forced to pay $400-per-day for the remainder of his time in charge of the fire department through the end of June 2018.
Earlier this year, Leung, of Newmarket, Ont., said Haggis, 60, and his lawyers were appealing a decision that Haggis would be suspended from the Toronto Fire Department pending his appeal.
Haggis’ lawyer said he would not be suspended and that he was awaiting his appeal.
Leung said Tuesday’s conviction was an example of a “slippery slope” that would lead to more convictions of police officers accused of sexual assault and others found guilty of using excessive force.
When asked why Haggis was found guilty of sexual assault, Judge Colleen Murphy said: “The evidence on that point was convincing and a fair conclusion.”
Murphy also took into account the fact that Leung had not filed a motion for a directed verdict, meaning that the jury decided on its own the evidence as it did.
Murphy said the jury must have found Haggis’ legal team not credible in their arguments because of their failure to call more than 20 witnesses, including an expert on sex trauma.
In that respect, she said: “We do think that someone who is so well versed in this particular area of trial would have provided information to the trial court with regard to the effect of this trauma and the testimony of other witnesses.”
The jury considered the evidence that H