Crown withdraws corruption charge against Ottawa police officer

·4 min read
Corruption-related charges have been withdrawn against one of the two Ottawa police constables arrested earlier this year. (CBC - image credit)
Corruption-related charges have been withdrawn against one of the two Ottawa police constables arrested earlier this year. (CBC - image credit)

The Crown has withdrawn a corruption-related criminal charge against an Ottawa police officer.

Const. Mohamed Mohamed was charged with obstructing justice in June after an RCMP anti-corruption probe, when the RCMP alleged he shared evidence with a witness in a criminal investigation. That investigation resulted in what Ottawa police describe as one of its largest single-seizures of fentanyl in the force's history.

A prosecutor cited the charge having "no reasonable prospect of conviction" when it was withdrawn on Wednesday morning.

Mohamed was charged alongside Const. Haidar El Badry, who continues to face charges of breach of trust, obstructing justice and causing a person to deal with a forged document.

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The criminal charges against the two officers came after a months-long anti-corruption probe that began when Ottawa police asked the Mounties to investigate a possible allegation of breach of trust connected to what was an ongoing city drug probe.

Both were immediately suspended with pay at the time of the charges.

Ottawa police ultimately arrested and charged El Badry's brother Ameer El Badry, 23, after a raid at a Holmwood Avenue in June. Police said they seized 1.4 kilograms of fentanyl.

Ameer El Badry, 23, has been charged with possessing fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime.

The RCMP investigation also yielded charges against two civilians: Ashley El Badry, 29, who is Haidar El Badry's wife and is charged with forgery and causing a person to deal with a forged document, and Mohamed Salameh, 29, who is charged with dealing with a forged document.

Mohamed's charge related to OPS drug bust

Mohamed declined to comment on the abandoned charge. His lawyer Michael Spratt told CBC News the officer was arrested by the RCMP "in front of his family, in plain sight of his community." He was taken to the police station where Mohamed gave a full and frank statement to the police.

According to Spratt, Const. El-Badry contacted Mohamed and asked if Mohamed could take his brother back to his Holmwood apartment in April, which had appeared to be broken into. Mohamed did so and identified himself as an off-duty police officer to the superintendent of the building.

The superintendent declined to show Mohamed any security video of the alleged break and enter. Mohamed told him, Spratt said, to forward everything he has to the Ottawa police robbery unit. It was for that communication that he was ultimately charged.

At no point, according to his lawyer, did Mohamed have any idea that either of the brothers were under any investigation.

"The Crown did the right thing withdrawing the charge because there is no reasonable prospect of conviction because absolutely no offence took place," Spratt said.

Spratt remains confused about why his client was charged in the first place and why Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly linked Mohamed's actions to corruption or bad practices.

"It's unconscionable that the police would charge someone with no evidence of any wrongdoing and would publicize that and hold that individual up as an example of one of the bad apples when the evidence is non-existent."

Mohamed is now "reviewing his options," but also looking for answers why this happened, Spratt said.

"He was done wrong. He was done wrong by the RCMP, by the Ottawa police. His name was dragged through the mud. His family was put through a hellish experience and it all unfolded in front of his community."

Both officers hired in 2018

Haidar El Badry was a former corrections officer and a graduate of Algonquin College's police foundations program. He is currently an Ottawa police patrol officer.

According to police board documents, both El Badry and Mohamed have only been employees of the service for three years.

Mohamed was hired by the local force in June 2018 as an "experienced officer" or "direct entry," which means he previously worked at another police service. Prior to his arrest, he was a neighbourhood resource team officer in the east division.

El Badry was officially hired by the Ottawa Police Service in December 2018.

In a statement Wednesday, Ottawa police said Mohamed "remains under suspension at this time" and the force is assessing the status of the suspension "in light of this criminal court development."

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