Montreal Police Officer Suspended For Entering Home At Night To Return Wallet

Emilie Clavel
·2-min read
A saga started by a lost wallet ended, almost three years later, with a decision of the Police Ethics Committee.
A saga started by a lost wallet ended, almost three years later, with a decision of the Police Ethics Committee.

MONTREAL — A Montreal police officer with a bizarre definition of a good deed was suspended without pay for three days after entering a family’s home “without any right” in the middle of the night to return a lost wallet.

The series of events detailed in a recent decision from Quebec’s police ethics committee is downright bizarre.

Officer Ghyslain Lavoie entered a house where lawyer Yves Gratton, his partner and their three children were sleeping, just before 2 a.m. on Aug 22, 2017. He was trying to return Mr Gratton’s daughter’s lost wallet, which had been found and turned in to police days earlier.

Gratton is a legal aid defence lawyer who has been practising in Quebec since 1993. A few days after the events, he filed a complaint with the police ethics commissioner, the provincial office which examines complaints filed against police officers, wildlife protection officers, special constables, highway controllers and UPAC investigators who may have violated its code of conduct.

Lavoie, who stated in his deposition he wasn’t aware of Gratton’s profession, went to great lengths to return the lost wallet. When it was given to him by a citizen who had found it, on Aug. 20, the police officer visited an address he found for the owner. When nobody answered the door, he decided to visit another address listed on the documents: Gratton’s home.

Montreal police officer Ghyslain Lavoie visited the plaintiff’s residence twice in the middle of the night.
Montreal police officer Ghyslain Lavoie visited the plaintiff’s residence twice in the middle of the night.

Lavoie knocked on the door of the Gratton family’s home around 3:22 a.m on the night of Aug. 21, according to an account of events endorsed by both parties. Nobody answered. He tried calling Gratton’s partner’s phone, but no one picked up. He couldn’t leave a message because her voicemail was full, the committee’s decision notes.

But Lavoie wasn’t ready to throw the towel. When he was back at work the following night, the officer returned to Gratton’s home with his partner, officer Milena Maturana. Around 1:46 a.m., Maturana rang the doorbell. Again, nobody answered.

Meanwhile, Lavoie inspected the...

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