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Toronto cop found guilty of assaulting Dafonte Miller challenges conviction

Lawyers for a Toronto police officer who was found guilty of assault in the beating of a young Black man are asking the court to throw out the conviction.

Michael Lacy, who represents Const. Michael Theriault, says they have filed an application to vacate the verdict, arguing the conviction for assault was not available to the court.

Theriault and his brother, Christian Theriault, were charged with aggravated assault and obstruction of justice in relation to a December 2016 incident that left Dafonte Miller with a ruptured eye and other serious injuries.

In a ruling delivered in June, Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca said he could not rule out the possibility that self-defence played a role in the early portion of the encounter.

But he said the self-defence argument collapsed when Theriault armed himself with a roughly metre-long pipe and hit Miller in the head as the then-19-year-old was retreating.

As a result, Theriault was acquitted of aggravated assault but convicted of the lesser charge of assault.

The officer was also acquitted on the obstruction of justice charge, and his brother was cleared on all counts.

The Crown is also challenging the verdict.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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