Peel police confidently stated in a news release that when Toronto lawyer Laura Liscio was arrested at a Brampton courthouse on Feb 12 she was not handcuffed while wearing her black court robes. The arrest was instead discreet, they claimed, and the young lawyer was taken away by plain-clothes officers and brought to an unmarked car. Except those inaccuracies were in fact accurate. And the false information was coming from the police. In a new press release, Peel Regional Police said it regretted publishing “misinformation” in a the previous news release. The release stated “Upon arrest Ms. Liscio was indeed handcuffed in her court attire and escorted to a discreet location within the Court Bureau,” the Wednesday release read. “Following her arrest, Ms. Liscio was escorted by both uniformed and plainclothes officers to a marked cruiser.”
The acknowledgment has done litter to appease the province’s legal community, Toronto Lawyers Association president Joseph Neuberger issued a statement of outrage, calling the manner of arrest “completely unjustified and unnecessary.” and conducted in an undignified fashion that disregarded the “sensitivities and risks” involved.
“The outrage in the bar – which includes the criminal bar – is not that Ms. Liscio was to be given special treatment because she is a lawyer, quite the contrary,” Neuberger added. “Civilians and police who are arrested for alleged crimes are given far better treatment upon arrest than Ms. Liscio. The police have broad powers to effect an arrest which includes offering a suspect to attend at a police station so the individual is provided with a degree of privacy and dignity.”
Daniel Brown, a Toronto director for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, called the error-laden news release “troubling” and said it raises questions about police credibility. “If we can’t trust them to issue an accurate press release, how can we trust them when they come to court and give sworn evidence under oath?” he said.
Liscio’s first court appearance is scheduled for March 12.