TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty is rejecting suggestions he was trying to play down the significance of the criminal allegations against Ontario's top police officer.

Provincial police Commissioner Julian Fantino is facing one count of influencing or attempting to influence municipal officials -- an allegation he has vowed to fight.

On Tuesday, McGuinty said there was no need for Fantino to step aside until the charge is dealt with because it's a "private information being put forward by a private citizen."

McGuinty said today he couldn't comment further on the case because it's before the courts, and said he wasn't trying to trivialize the charge against the commissioner.

The New Democrats say McGuinty's loyalty to Fantino is misplaced and the commissioner should be told step down until the charge is dealt with in court.

The Progressive Conservatives say McGuinty should appoint a special prosecutor from outside Ontario to deal with the Fantino case.

OPP Inspector Dave Ross says Fantino will not be in a Cayuga, Ont., court this Friday when the charge will be spoken to by the Crown.

Activist Gary McHale has been trying to have Fantino charged after the commissioner allegedly sent an email in 2007 telling the mayor and councillors in Caledonia not to attend McHale's rallies.

McHale led a number of rallies to protest what he called two-tier justice in the policing of the land occupation in the town south of Hamilton.