Sentencing hearing for Toronto cop found guilty in assault on Dafonte Miller to be held in September
Const. Michael Theriault (left) and Dafonte Miller (right) are seen in this composite image. (The Canadian Press)
TORONTO -- A sentencing hearing will be held this fall for the off-duty Toronto cop convicted of assaulting a young Black man who lost an eye in the 2016 attack.
The lawyer for Dafonte Miller, the victim of the assault, confirmed to CTV News Toronto on Wednesday that the sentencing hearing for Const. Michael Theriault will proceed on Sept. 25.
The Toronto police officer and his younger brother Christian were both charged with aggravated assault and obstruction of justice in connection with the violent incident, which occurred in Whitby in December 2016.
Last month, a judge acquitted Christian Theriault of both charges and found Michael Theriault guilty of only the lesser charge of assault.
Miller, who was 19 years old at the time of the incident, previously testified that he was walking with a friend near Thickson Road and William Stephenson Drive in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2016 when he was approached and questioned by the two brothers.
He told the court that the brothers chased him down the road and when they caught up to him, the men assaulted him.
At one point during the incident, Miller said Michael Theriault brutally beat him with a four-foot long metal pipe, resulting in what the judge described as a “horrific eye injury.”
Miller’s left eye was dislodged from its socket and split in four and after multiple surgeries, it could not be saved.
During the trial, the brothers testified that the altercation took place after they attempted to arrest Miller for trying to break into a car parked in the driveway of their parents’ home.
They claimed the assault on Miller was in self-defence, an assertion the judge rejected.
The judge noted that Miller had moved toward the door of a home in the residential area where the attack took place and was trying to get away from the brothers when Michael Theriault struck him with the pipe.
“He is heading towards the door to seek assistance and he is badly injured,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca said in his decision.
“The already razor thin self-defence justification evaporates at this stage.”
Di Luca noted that the use of a weapon in the attack will be considered an aggravating factor in sentencing.
Miller’s lawyers say the exact time for the sentencing hearing has not yet been confirmed and the judge’s decision will be released at a later date.