Judge acquits man of evading police but admonishes him for common-law actions taken against officers
A Toronto man has been charged with human trafficking and other crimes in connection with a number of threats he made against police last year.
Sean Sinclair, 42, was ordered detained on Monday after appearing before a judge. In his ruling, however, the judge convicted Sinclair of evading police by driving with a suspended licence.
He was arrested after a string of threatening phone calls in March 2018 and was charged with seven offences.
Following his arrest, Sinclair was held at the psychiatric unit of a detention centre for three days, suspended from his job as a fire and ambulance technician, and released to see a psychiatrist.
An Ontario assistant deputy attorney general, Carl Fiocco, said Sinclair had admitted to killing animals on an unrecorded chat line, but wanted to distance himself from the case to avoid being charged with threatening police.
The case has attracted international headlines in recent days. The Toronto Star reported that Sinclair was seen on security camera footage attacking the front desk of a Toronto hospital.
In court on Monday, Sinclair was barred from approaching any of the 16 police officers involved in the investigation or a judge who arrived with them. Judge Steven McLean then admonished Sinclair for his actions.
“Convicted for evading police, there is no end to the abuse you can mete out,” the judge said. “One of the ways you expressed your displeasure was to attack the police. We have a duty to protect the police.”
McLean said the exact time when police arrived at Sinclair’s home on Wednesday last week was key to the arrest.
“The careful wording of that order is a remarkable thing,” the judge said. “Are you aware of that?”
The prosecution has alleged Sinclair was trying to arrange an encounter with a teenage girl with whom he had been in communication online. When the girl became suspicious, Sinclair threatened her.
That same night, he called police, resulting in a lengthy wiretap on his phone, the court heard.
He is charged with four counts of procuring a child under the age of 16 for sexual purposes, two counts of extortion, and intimidating a witness.
Sinclair’s lawyer told the court that the evidence showed his client had been interacting with the teenage girl online and in the subsequent calls had “blown off steam”.
He added that his client felt disrespected when police showed up at his home to arrest him, and that he had been wrongly represented by his first lawyer at trial.
Chief Mark Saunders, the Toronto police chief, has called Sinclair’s actions “disgusting” and “an attack on the integrity of the criminal justice system”.
“I am not going to allow someone to intimidate our officers,” Saunders told reporters on Sunday. “I am very clear with our officers that if you are in a position where you have knowledge of something illegal and you don’t speak up, you should not tolerate that kind of behaviour.”