August 17, 2018 2:49 pm
Updated: August 17, 2018 6:21 pm

Former head of London’s human trafficking unit pleads guilty to discreditable conduct

London police Chief John Pare said he's satisfied with the outcome of a police services act hearing involving Sgt. Mike Hay.

Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

The former head of London’s human trafficking unit who unconditionally released another officer caught in a prostitution sting has a record of “exceptional service” with the London Police Service.

That’s what Sgt. Mike Hay’s defence lawyer, Lucas O’Hara, told a police services act hearing Friday after the 44-year-old officer pleaded guilty to a single charge of discreditable conduct.

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O’Hara said Hay was remorseful and “acknowledged damage to the reputation of the police service,” after he was approached about what happened on April 19.

READ MORE: Head of London Police trafficking unit accused of freeing fellow officer caught in sting

An agreed statement of facts from both O’Hara and the prosecutor, Patty Malone, said Hay was leading the human trafficking unit during a “proactive operations plan that targeted subjects who were purchasing the sexual services of females.”

The agreed statement of facts said there were reasonable and probable grounds for arrest for a man caught in the sting, but upon learning he was a police officer in Ontario who was close to retirement, Hay warned the man and released him unconditionally.

Additional charges of neglect of duty and insubordination were withdrawn.

The hearings officer, retired deputy chief Terrence Kelly, accepted a joint recommendation on a penalty from both lawyers. Hay hasn’t been formally sentenced yet, but he will forfeit 120 hours of pay, will complete police ethics training and will continue with counselling as directed by his health-care provider.

Kelly noted that Hay had “numerous commendations” in his police file.

READ MORE: 25% of human trafficking victims in Canada are children: StatsCan

There were also many letters of support from the police force’s community partners, saying Hay’s actions didn’t “tarnish their relationship with the London Police Service” or undo the work he’d done with the human trafficking unit, said O’Hara.

“It is agreed his actions in this incident are in aberration from his behaviour and character,” said Malone.

After the hearing, police Chief John Pare addressed the media.

“While there is no question that Sgt. Hay did the wrong thing in this incident, it cannot be forgotten that he’s been a valued, caring, and respected officer for 18 years.”

“I am however confident that Sgt. Mike Hay will continue to be a valued member of our service, and he has a lot to offer both his police service and this community.”

READ MORE: Pedestrian killed on Highway 401 in Waterloo Region

Hay no longer leads the human trafficking unit, a position he held since it was launched in January 2017. When asked whether Hay might be able to return to the post, Pare said he didn’t see that happening in the “immediate future,” and that Hay remains on paid active duty, assigned to a patrol section.

Pare wouldn’t confirm details about the police officer from another service who’d been caught in the sting.

The London Free Press has identified him as 55-year-old David MacIntosh and says that Waterloo Regional Police confirmed they had an officer of the same name whose last working day was April 27, 2018.

Sources have told 980 CFPL MacIntosh was the same 55-year-old man struck and killed by a big rig on Highway 401 in Kitchener on Aug. 8.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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