Saint John police officer charged with assault causing bodily harm appears in court

Const. Benaiah Sok's trial on assault causing bodily harm will begin in Saint John in February. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)
Const. Benaiah Sok's trial on assault causing bodily harm will begin in Saint John in February. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)

A Saint John police officer charged with assault causing bodily harm was in court Monday for a short voir dire hearing before his trial in February.

Details of the voir dire, a hearing where a judge, the Crown and defence discuss what potential evidence is admissible at trial, cannot be reported.

The charge against Const. Benaiah Sok stems from an arrest he made on Aug. 22, 2021, in uptown Saint John. Sok allegedly used excessive force when arresting an adult unknown to him.

A complaint made about the incident to the Saint John force's professional standards department was forwarded to Fredericton police on Sept. 3, 2021, for an external investigation.

That investigation concluded in December 2021 and an indictable assault charge was laid in provincial court. In March, he chose to be tried by a judge and jury.

Police have said that Sok has been reassigned to administrative duties and wouldn't be in contact with the public until the court proceedings concluded.

Sok was present at the voir dire hearing, which was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday but ended Monday morning.

The criminal court case will be followed by an investigation under the New Brunswick Police Act.