December trial likely for top Thunder Bay, Ont., cop


THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The police chief of Thunder Bay, Ont., is now expected to stand trial on charges of breach of trust and attempting to obstruct justice as early as December.

Chief J.P. Levesque waived his right to a preliminary inquiry this week and opted to go directly to trial in Superior Court.

Levesque also chose to be tried by a judge alone.

Ontario provincial police charged the officer of 30 years, including the last six as chief, in May after a five-month investigation.

The charges stem from unproven allegations that Levesque disclosed confidential information concerning the city’s mayor.

Official dates have yet to be set but his lawyer says the defence hopes the trial will start before the end of the year.

“We’ve sought the earliest possible trial date,” lawyer Brian Gover said. “Chief Levesque looks forward to his ultimate vindication.”

In a related case, police charged the mayor of the city in northwestern Ontario and his wife with extortion and obstructing justice in July. The charges against Keith and Marisa Hobbs are linked to those Levesque is facing, according to police.

Levesque was charged after officers, at his instigation, launched an investigation into the mayor, who was an officer with the city’s police force for 34 years until he went into politics in 2010, Thunder Bay police have said.

Also charged with extortion was Mary Voss, a city resident.