An Ottawa police officer violated an Ottawa woman and used more force than necessary during a 2008 cellblock strip search, the assistant Crown attorney said in court Monday.
The trial of Ottawa police Sgt. Steven Desjourdy began Monday with assistant Crown attorney Chris Webb laying out the prosecution's case to the judge in an Ottawa courtroom.
Desjourdy, who has pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual assault, chose to have a trial by judge alone.
Webb said on Sept. 6, 2008, Desjourdy cut open the bra and shirt of the woman while two other male officers held her down.
Later she was left in her cell without clothes for hours.
Webb said removing the clothing was excessive and "violated her sexual integrity and was a sexually humiliating experience."
Sexual assault is not a crime of passion, said Webb.
"It's a crime of power, dominance, aggression and violence," he said.
Webb noted that police will likely say they removed her bra and shirt as a precautionary measure to prevent a person in cellblock from hanging themselves.
But Webb said the force used was more than that outlined in police policies.
Defence lawyer Michael Edelson did not make an opening statement.
A publication ban prevents the woman from being identified. She was in court Monday, but isn't expected to testify.
Outside of court, Ottawa Police Association President Matthew Skof said Desjourdy should never have been charged.
"When an officer's doing their job — this is not a back-alley lascivious act – we do it clinically, we do it professionally and when we are doing that we shouldn't be questioned to a criminal intent," said Skof.
There are several layers of oversight on police officers, including the Police Services Act and civil litigation. This is not the appropriate venue,” he said.
Desjourdy was charged in March 2011 by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which looks into instances where a member of the public dies, is injured or alleges sexual assault after contact with police.
The trial continues Tuesday. It is expected to last two weeks.