Surrey cop has a third assault charge stayed

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For the second time in a week, a Surrey police officer accused of assaulting a civilian has had his charge tossed from court.

Const. Imran Saeed was facing a single charge in connection to a February 2009 incident where he allegedly used excessive force against a woman during a traffic stop.

That charge was stayed Monday morning in Surrey Provincial Court because the case took too long to get to trial.

Saeed, 32, was also facing two other unrelated assault charges relating to an alleged May 2009 incident during a domestic disturbance call. Those charges were also stayed last week due to the nearly three-year delay getting to trial.

Trina Westad, the woman Saeed was accused of assaulting during the February traffic stop, was disappointed with the stay of proceeding after waiting so long to have her day in court.

"A stay doesn't mean he's not guilty. There's still no definite answers," said Westad. "The reason why I came forward was to show people that they can stick up for themselves and not be afraid."

Saeed's lawyer argued last month that the RCMP officer's right to be tried in a reasonable amount of time had been violated. Saeed pleaded not guilty to all the charges in June 2010 and back-to-back trials for both cases were originally scheduled for June 2011.

However, shortly before the trials were to proceed, a second RCMP investigation was conducted – a process Crown lawyer Wayne Norris argued was necessary to ensure the investigation was thorough. In court, Norris noted that due to recent public distrust in the police complaint process, a charge against an RCMP officer is under intense scrutiny.

Chris Stojak, one of the two men Saeed was accused on assaulting in May 2009, said last week that the stay of proceeding in his case sent a poor message to the public.

Both Stojak and Westad have pending civil suits against Saeed.

Westad's suit claims that in February 2009, Westad was pulled over in her car near 69 Avenue and 134 Street in Surrey. According to the statement of claim, when Saeed ordered Westad from her car, she asked why and the police officer "became irate and directed numerous extremely profane epithets" at Westad.

It's alleged when other officers arrived, one threatened to Taser Westad if she didn't immediately get out of the vehicle. Saeed, the lawsuit states, then dragged the woman from her car, slammed her to the ground and handcuffed her. Westad was given a traffic ticket and released from custody after 45 minutes.

Stojak's suit alleges he was struck at least times in the head by Saeed while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, and that the officer also threw another man against a wall and banged his head against it repeatedly.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Saeed will also face an internal RCMP disciplinary hearing.

- with files from Dan Ferguson

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