London police constable pleads guilty to three misconduct charges
Published Monday, July 22, 2019 4:39PM EDT
London police Const. Stephen Williams appeared before a hearing officer at London Police Headquarters Monday and entered three guilty pleas.
In a brief, one-hour hearing, Williams entered a plea of guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct and one count of neglect of duty.
The second-class constable has been suspended with pay since 2017, and under a plea deal agreed to by lawyers for both parties, would forfeit just 70 hours of pay for pleading guilty.
“It’s discouraging and a blow for sure,” says London Abused Women’s Centre Executive Director Megan Walker. She spoke at the hearing as a voice in support of the complainant Andrea Agora.
“It’s difficult to know that an officer who pleads guilty to these charges would be penalized by only receiving 70 hours of pay reduction. It’s difficult to know he’s been on a paid leave of absence during this…and the wheels of justice and balance of power always seem to be in the wrong court.”
Williams failed to declare a conflict of interest after inserting himself into a criminal investigation involving a close, childhood friend.
He also ran multiple unlawful background checks on Agora, his friend’s then wife. The pair were involved in separation proceedings at the time.
Walker was clearly not happy about the plea deal, but did take away some positives.
“I feel it was a good day because the officer of the hearing was patient and acknowledged the victim's story. It was important to hear three guilty pleas, and it was important for us to raise the point that if it wasn't for the actions by Const. Williams, the victim would not have been victimized.
"He was manipulative to help her now ex-husband and that has been very harmful.”
During the hearing, Walker told hearing officer Robert Fitches that Agora has suffered financially because of this case, and could not afford a solicitor.
They were asking that the 70 hours pay from Williams go to Agora as restitution, but she admits that is unlikely
“She's pleased to have this over with, and our agency, we are very committed to supporting victims,” adds Walker.
She also stated that if reinstated, Williams will not be allowed inside the offices of the London Abused Women’s Centre.
Fitches, a retired OPP superintendent, said he will take a couple of weeks to consider the agreed statement of facts and then render a final decision.