Officer should get conditional sentence, judge told


An Edmonton police officer convicted of assault should be given an 18-month conditional sentence and have a criminal record, a provincial court judge was told Friday.

In his sentencing arguments, Crown prosecutor Matthew Dalidowicz called the assault by Const. Haoyin Zheng an abuse of police power and an attack on a man in a vulnerable position.

Zheng was found guilty last month in the Dec. 15, 2008 attack on a handcuffed man in the back of a police car. Dalidowicz wants Zheng to be given a 18-month conditional sentence and face a firearms prohibition.

Zheng's lawyer, Kirk MacDonald, argued his client — whom he called a "passionate police officer" — has already paid a heavy price for the crime. Zheng feels "perfectly wretched being here," he told Judge John Henderson.

MacDonald admitted Zheng was “perhaps a bit rough.” But he called the incident a brief, unpremeditated loss of control, that should not end the constable’s policing career.

MacDonald entered more than a dozen reference letters into the court record, which ask for Zheng to receive a conditional or absolute discharge.

Zheng will be sentenced on Feb. 17.

On Jan. 28, Zheng was convicted of assault after the judge determined Jean-Marc Viau was jostled enough to rock the police cruiser from side-to-side.

Zheng was found not guilty of assault with a weapon and a second assault charge in the same incident.

Zheng is currently suspended with pay from Edmonton Police. He faces two unrelated assault charges in an arrest on June 6.