Halifax police officer fired after being sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting homeless man
HALIFAX -- A Halifax Regional Police officer who assaulted a homeless man outside a shelter in the city almost two years ago has been sentenced to three months in jail and subsequently fired from his job.
Const. Gary Basso was sentenced on Friday. He must report to jail next Friday and will serve his three-month sentence on weekends.
Basso’s sentence also includes a 12-month probation and a 10-year prohibition on firearms. He must also submit a DNA sample.
Basso was found guilty in June 2019 of assault causing bodily harm.
The charge came following an investigation by Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team, which received information in March 2018 about an assault by a police officer on a man at the Metro Turning Point shelter.
The 54-year-old homeless man sustained facial injuries, including a broken nose, during the altercation on Feb. 25, 2018.
Basso pleaded not guilty in May 2018.
A video of the incident was a key piece of evidence at Basso’s trial. The video from the shelter security camera showed Basso striking a man in the face outside the shelter.
During his testimony, Joseph (Patrice) Simard repeatedly said he had almost no memory of what had happened from the time of the incident until after waking up the next day in a police lockup.
Basso testified that Simard hit him first, but the judge presiding over the case relied heavily on the video evidence to find otherwise.
Basso has been with the Halifax Regional Police since 2004. He was suspended with pay after the incident.
Late Friday afternoon, Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella announced that Basso had been fired.
"We recognize that the conviction of one of our officers for a criminal offence is deeply troubling," Kinsella said in a statement. "Our officers' conduct is critical to building and maintaining trust, and we expect our officers to remain above reproach. Cst. Basso has been dismissed from Halifax Regional Police, effective immediately."