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Thunder Bay Police Service chief, oversight board respond after ex-chief charged by OPP

Thunder Bay’s police chief and the chair of its oversight board is speaking to the media on Monday, three days after Ontario Provincial Police said the service’s former chief has been charged with obstruction, the third current or former member to be charged in recent months.

Thunder Bay Police Service Chief Darcy Fleury and Thunder Bay Police Service Board chair Karen Machado are holding a news conference beginning at 1 p.m. ET. 

The charges the OPP announced Friday against Sylvie Hauth are: 

  • Obstruction of a public officer or peace officer. 
  • Breach of trust by a public officer.
  • Two counts of obstruction of justice.

Hauth was suspended in 2022 after the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) brought misconduct charges against her under the Police Services Act. After nearly three decades with the force, she retired in 2023 before those allegations could be tested in a hearing.

Ex-chief confident she’ll ‘prevail,’ lawyer says

In a statement later on Friday, Hauth’s lawyer, Scott Hutchinson, said the OPP’s decision to lay charges was “both disappointing and regrettable.” 

“Chief Hauth is confident that the people of Thunder Bay will not rush to any judgment and will respect the presumption of innocence. She looks forward to her trial where she will present her defence. She is confident she will prevail,” Hutchinson said.

Hauth has been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court in Thunder Bay on May 7, the OPP said on Friday, and its investigation remains ongoing.

Police service lawyer Holly Walbourne, left, speaks during a meeting in this 2018 file photo alongside Hauth. (Cathy Alex/CBC )

Last week, the OPP said Thunder Bay police lawyer Holly Walbourne faces obstruction and breach of trust offences, and Staff Sgt. Michael Dimini was charged in December with assault, breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

Both Fleury and Machado issued statements on Friday. 

Fleury said the force welcomed the investigation and has co-operated fully with OPP. 

“It is another step toward resolution of this matter and our ability to wholly move forward as a police service,” Fleury said. “It is my hope that community members will not allow the results of this investigation to overshadow the ongoing dedication and quality service provided by our TBPS.

“As the justice process is carried out, we will continue on our path forward, learning from the past in order to make the most of our future.” 

The statement from the oversight board “thanked the Ontario Provincial Police for its investigation” and said board members “remain seized with our mandate and collective responsibility to ensure the Thunder Bay Police Service is governed effectively so the city can have confidence in its police service. 

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