TORONTO – The surveillance officer who arrested Rob Ford’s friend never saw him hold or drop a pop can that was later found to contain a small amount of marijuana, court heard Tuesday.
Const. Jason Heard did testify that he heard what he thought was a tin can hit the ground as he rushed to arrest Alexander (Sandro) Lisi outside a west-end dry cleaners in October 2013.
“It didn’t mean anything to me at the time,” Heard said.
Instead, he said, he focused on the arrest of the “high profile character.”
The pop can, later retrieved by another officer from the plaza parking lot near Lisi’s Range Rover, turned out to be a fake ginger ale can in which 6.4 grams of marijuana was found.
The can, not tested for fingerprints, was similar to two empty ones found in Lisi’s vehicle, court has heard.
Lisi, 36, who was the former mayor’s friend and driver, has pleaded not guilty to possession of marijuana and marijuana trafficking. He had $900 in marked police money when he was arrested.
Heard described forcing Lisi to the ground but denied the takedown was aggressive even though the suspect ended up with an abrasion on his face.
“He’s calm but he’s not compliant,” Heard said. “I wouldn’t call it resisting but I wouldn’t call it complying.”
By contrast, Lisi’s co-accused Jamshid (Jay) Bahrami, who had watched the arrest from inside the dry cleaners he owned, seemed terrified, court heard.
Having ensured that another officer had handcuffed and secured Lisi, Heard said he rushed inside the store.
“Mr. Bahrami was extremely panicked,” Heard said. “He was very concerned about his back.”
Instead of taking him down, Heard said he turned Bahrami around and put his hands on the counter until he could be handcuffed.
Bahrami, 49, who has a severe and painful arthritic condition, has pleaded not guilty to trafficking in marijuana and possession of cocaine of which a small amount was found in his store.
Court has previously heard how police became interested in Lisi because they believed he had swapped drugs for Ford’s cellphone earlier in 2013, which the then-mayor had lost.
An intense surveillance operation and investigation that lasted months led police to allege Bahrami had brokered a marijuana deal between Lisi and an undercover officer worth $900. Ford was never charged.