Nov 04, 2013
By Jane Brown
Will Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair release the infamous video which appears to show the city’s mayor smoking crack cocaine? Mayor Rob Ford issued a challenge to Chief Blair yesterday while apologizing on his radio show for past mistakes. “Whatever this video shows folks,” Ford explained, “Toronto residents deserve to see it, and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video.”
Chief Blair was not available for comment following Ford’s radio show, but his spokesman Mark Pugash says police are abiding by the rule of law by not releasing the video or any other electronic devices seized in connection with the drug investigation. Pugash explained, “the law requires us to turn evidence over to the courts. They alone have the authority to decide how it’s treated.” A former Crown prosecutor interviewed by the Globe and Mail agrees with Mr. Pugash, saying video evidence is not analogous to guns and drugs seized by police and displayed during photo-ops when they make a drug bust. The video, he said, is part of an ongoing investigation; is “loaded with context;” and may raise privacy issues. Former Ontario P.C. leader and radio host John Tory believes differently. “There is a circumstance in which you could do it, I presume,” Tory told CP24, “and if Rob Ford said it’s okay with him and Mr. Lisi, if he has anything to do with, and he says it’s okay with him, then I suppose it could come out. And when it comes out, I guess we will see what’s on it, and we’ll see what impact it has. But better to be out in a way no matter how bad it might be then to be the subject of endless speculation.”
The mayor’s friend and sometimes driver, Alexander Lisi, has been charged with extortion in relation to “efforts to retrieve a recording” and was released on$5000 bail after a brief court appearance on Friday.