Halifax police officer pleads not guilty to assault at homeless shelter
A Halifax Regional Police officer accused of assaulting a man at a homeless shelter in February has pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against him.
Const. Laurence Gary Basso has been charged with assault causing bodily harm, public mischief, and breach of trust, in connection with the incident.
Basso’s lawyer appeared in court Tuesday and entered the not-guilty pleas on his client’s behalf.
Police contacted Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team on March 4 after receiving information about an alleged assault by a police officer on a man at the Metro Turning Point shelter on Barrington Street.
SIRT says a 54-year-old man sustained facial injuries, including a broken nose, during the alleged altercation on Feb. 25.
Basso was initially placed on administrative duties, and later suspended with pay once the charges were laid.
This isn’t the first time 37-year-old Basso has faced criminal charges. He was charged in January 2016 with theft, breach of trust and obstruction of justice after a substance disappeared from a police exhibit locker in 2015.
However, the charges against Basso were dropped in that case.
“The 2016 charges were ultimately stayed on account of delay, and I think that just emphasizes our needs to make sure that these matters, when they come into court, are trial-ready,” said Crown attorney Peter Dostal. “We’re confident that this will be trial-ready well within time for this trial in this particular case.”
Dostal said Basso’s trial is set to begin on Monday, Nov. 26. Two days have been set aside for the trial.
“We’re doing our best to make sure that this matter gets to trial as soon as reasonably possible,” said Dostal. “We’re satisfied that we do have a presentable case.”