Former policeman appealing convictions

The seven months a former police officer served in jail for refusing to testify at a public inquiry, largely of his own making, amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment,” the man writes in appealing his contempt convictions.

TORONTO — The seven months a former police officer served in jail for refusing to testify at a public inquiry, largely of his own making, amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment,” the man writes in appealing his contempt convictions.

Perry Dunlop led a crusade for years in Cornwall, Ont., to root out pedophiles and his work sparked calls for a public inquiry.

The Cornwall inquiry’s official mandate was to examine institutional responses to historical claims of sexual abuse, but many were looking to the report, released in December, to once and for all debunk rumours of a pedophile ring. Commissioner G. Normand Glaude declined to do so in his more than 1600-page report.

Dunlop, now living in Duncan, B.C., was called in September 2007 to testify at the inquiry. While he did appear several times, he refused to answer any questions.

He was found guilty of civil contempt in November 2007 and sentenced to six months. He was then found guilty of criminal contempt in March 2008 and sentenced to a further 30 days in jail.

The convictions are a “travesty” that must be overturned, Dunlop writes in documents filed with the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

“I was targeted for cruel and unusual punishment to the point of excessive and prolonged isolated incarceration for speaking out to protect children and expose criminal activity within the justice system,” Dunlop writes.

“I am appealing also on the grounds that the sentences imposed on me were excessive, inhumane and constituted unlawful and illegal imprisonment.”

Dunlop’s appeal is scheduled to be heard today, but he is self-represented and it’s unclear whether he will attend in person. The Crown didn’t notify Dunlop of the hearing date and attempts to reach him over the past week have not been fruitful, according to information in Dunlop’s court file.