Sentencing of cop convicted of assaulting homeless delayed until January
HALIFAX -- The Halifax police officer convicted of assaulting a homeless man outside a shelter last February is still awaiting his sentence.
Const. Laurence Gary Basso was suspended with pay during the court proceedings and now, he won't know if he will go to jail until next year.
It's been almost 18 months since his crime was captured on video, as Basso struck a homeless man while responding to a call at a Halifax shelter.
The moment led to Basso's conviction for assault causing bodily harm earlier this year.
On Friday, Basso was supposed to be sentenced, but a procedural issue has delayed the judge's decision until next year.
Instead, lawyers on both sides made their arguments, on just how stiff Basso's sentence should be.
"The crown is recommending a range between six to nine months jail for Mr. Basso," said Crown Attorney Sylvia Domaradzki.
She says jail time is essential for the public interest.
"The public needs to have faith that when an individual who is a police officer commits a crime and then subsequently, as was found in this case, tries to cover his or her tracks, there's going to be significant consequences," said Domaradzki.
As part of its case, the Crown read out an agreed statement of facts regarding past disciplinary actions against Basso over the course of his 18 year career.
One of them involved an intimate relationship in 2008 with an associate of known criminals.
Another incident involved missing police evidence, for which Basso was given a 10- day suspension. Charges were laid, but were stayed.
During his submissions to the court, Defence lawyer James Giacomontonio urged the court to use "restraint" when considering sentencing, saying the public nature of the trial has had a deep impact on his client.
The defence is asking for a conditional sentence with community service and counselling.
In a letter to the judge, Basso expresses his passion for the police force, as a member of a policing family.
As for the altercation between himself and the victim, Basso writes: "I wish that it had never happened. The risk of losing a career that I love, I can not [sic] begin to explain how heart breaking that is."
A spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Police Service declined comment today.
A disciplinary investigation into Basso's actions has been on hold during court proceedings, an investigation that will ultimately determine basso's future in policing.
Submissions from the crown and defence were finished today.
The date set for Basso's sentencing is Jan. 31, 2020.