MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- A St. Thomas, Ont. police officer found guilty of two counts of discreditable conduct following a domestic incident has been demoted.

A verdict on Const. Steve Cudney was handed down in Nov. 2020 in connection with an altercation with his estranged spouse in Oct. 2019.

The disciplinary hearing found Cudney used "excessive and unnecessary physical force" during the confrontation, breaching police policy.

A decision on the consequences for the conviction was handed down this week.

The St. Thomas Police Service had been asking for Cudney's dismissal, while Cudney's lawyer proposed a forfeiture of salary or a 12-month demotion.

Retired OPP superintendent Greg Walton decided on a multi-year demotion instead.

In his decision, he ordered Cudney be demoted from the rank of first-class constable to the rank of fourth-class constable for a year, then promoted to third-class constable for a year, then to second-class constable for another year, and finally reinstatement as a first-class constable - with each promotion dependent on satisfactory work performance.

The order takes effect immediately.

St. Thomas police Chief Chris Herridge issued a statement Tuesday, assuring the community that the actions of one person are not a reflection of the rest of his hard-working officers.

“We are sharing this information with the public, as we always do, in the interest of openness and transparency. We are committed to accountability and integrity as an organization. Even though I had requested a dismissal in this case, I respect the Hearing Officer’s decision and penalty imposed.”

He added that they will continue to hold members responsible for their actions.