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Orillia OPP officer convicted of assaulting woman during arrest


An Orillia OPP officer has been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm after choking and pinning a woman against cell bars during an arrest four years ago.

On Thursday, Justice John Olver said Const. Bailey Nicholls used excessive force during the arrest of a woman while removing her jewelry in a jail cell, resulting in her needing five stitches for her injuries.

On Sept. 7, 2019, OPP officers arrested a woman outside the Studabakers Beachside restaurant in Orillia for public intoxication and brought her to the Orillia OPP detachment.

She was asked to remove her jewelry in her holding cell as a routine precaution but found it difficult to remove her necklace due to her intoxicated state.

Court documents say she removed her earrings before attempting the necklace again.

An impatient Const. Nicholls intervened approximately one minute later, pulling on the chain, snapping and breaking it.

The court heard she then grabbed her throat while shoving her into the cell bars.

The woman was taken to hospital for treatment, requiring staples for her bloodied head.

The encounter was all captured on camera.

"As the commissioner has said, we know that it's troubling for everyone when a police officer is accused of and, in particular, convicted of a serious crime," said Bill Dickson, OPP Acting Media Relations manager. "The OPP is not only aware of this decision, we take it very seriously, and we value our relationships with our communities. We want to make sure that people know they can trust members of the OPP to uphold the law and preserve public safety."

Dickson said Const. Nicholls is currently on an "unrelated leave."

"We have seen some cases recently, and it is unfortunate, and we don't like it just as much as the public doesn't like it," Dickson added. "But it's still rare when you think of how many police officers we have in the OPP."

The Ontario Provincial Police Association said it's reviewing the judge's reasons for finding the 8-year OPP veteran guilty.

"The OPP Association will fully support OPP Provincial Constable Bailey Nicholls to the conclusion of this proceeding. We believed that the evidence would result in the acquittal of PC Nicholls, and Thursday's decision is obviously very disappointing," said John Cerasuolo, Ontario Provincial Police Association President. "We are analyzing and reviewing the decision of Justice Olver, and once the legal process is concluded, a determination will be made about the merits of an appeal."

Const. Nicholls will return to court in late November to set a date for sentencing. Top Stories

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