The Calgary police officer who slammed a handcuffed woman face first to the floor will not get a second chance to appeal his conviction.
On Thursday, Alberta Court of Appeal Judge Anne Kirker denied defense lawyer Alain Hepner’s leave application to take Alexander Dunn’s case to the province’s Supreme Court.
Dunn was found guilty by Provincial Court Judge Michelle Christopher of assault causing bodily harm for using a “dynamic takedown” on the since-deceased Dalia Kafi during her arrest on December 13, 2017.
Because the crown proceeded summarily instead of by indictment, the case was appealed to a court of King’s Bench judge.
On November 19, 2021, Judge Robert Hall ruled that the video evidence of Dunn’s interaction with Kafi was all Christopher needed to convict the suspended officer.
In denying leave to appeal the case further, Kirker said Hepner could not establish a justification for taking the case to the county’s highest court.
“I am not satisfied that the applicant has established . . . that a second level of appeal is warranted,” Kirker said.
One of the grounds of appeal proposed by Hepner was that Christopher erred in finding that Dunn became frustrated with Kafi and overreacted when he knocked her to the floor at the arrest processing unit.
Kirker noted that the Crown did not make that argument at trial, but Dunn was asked by his trial attorney if that was his motivation and he denied it.
“In my view, the applicant was clearly aware of the case he had to meet,” Kirker said.
“The suggestion that he acted out of anger or frustration was put to the applicant by his counsel and the applicant gave evidence about his emotional state by explaining his actions.
“He relied on the claim that he was in no way angry or upset by asking the trial judge to reasonably doubt whether the Crown denied the applicant’s alleged belief that the complainant had slipped her hands from the handcuffs, which the actions what he did was justified,” Kirker said.
“The trial judge rejected the evidence, which she was entitled to do.”
In upholding Dunn’s conviction, Hall said the video evidence was compelling.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words,” the judge said in his ruling, after taking a break during arguments to watch the video.
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Christopher sentenced Dunn to a suspended sentence of 30 days in the community, which included 15 days of house arrest. A Crown appeal of that sentence is still pending.
Crown prosecutor Ryan Pollard asked for a nine-month prison sentence.
Dunn, 36, remains suspended without pay pending resolution of the case.