Court hears closing arguments in road rage case involving Montreal police officer

Court hears closing arguments in road rage case involving Montreal police officer

Lawyers finished their closing arguments in the trial of Jeffery Pokora, a Montreal man charged with uttering threats, harassment and intimidation against a police officer.

In January 2015, Pokora was driving in the Montreal neighbourhood of Lasalle when he followed a man he believed was driving dangerously. He didn't know the man was Roberto Tomarelli, an off-duty Montreal police officer.

Pokora followed him to confront him about his driving. After a verbal altercation, surveillance video shows Tomarelli got into his vehicle and rammed into Pokora's, seriously damaging his car.

Both men called 911, and Pokora was arrested and charged. Tomarelli told the court he felt threatened and was concerned Pokora might've been mentally ill.

In the trial's closing arguments, Pokora's lawyer, Debbie Mankovitz, referred to Tomarelli as the "so-called victim" in the incident.

Pokora maintains he's the victim. He filed a complaint with police against Tomarelli in connection with the incident, but crown prosecutors decided not to lay charges against Tomarelli after reviewing the file last year.

Pokora has since filed a lawsuit against Tomarelli seeking $120,000 in damages.

Tomarelli felt 'cornered'

Tomarelli testified he felt threatened when Pokora first confronted him on the sidewalk, saying he passed on a solid line and it was his duty as a citizen to report him.

According to testimony, Pokora also said, "back off, I'm waiting for backup. Do you live here?"

Tomarelli said that, at the time, attacks against soldiers in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and on Parliament Hill were top of mind. As a police officer, he said that he felt "cornered", and that he was genuinely concerned for his safety.

Mankovitz said there "wasn't an ounce of credibility" in Tomarelli's version of events.

In her closing arguments, prosecutor Eloise Côté attacked Pokora's credibility, saying even if he believed Tomarelli was driving dangerously, he had no reason to follow him to his home and block him in his driveway.

Judge Marc Renaud is expected to render his decision June 16.