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Summons served on OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino over influence allegation

Ontario’s top police officer has been served with a summons over an allegation he influenced or attempted to influence municipal officials.

Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino confirmed that he received a summons today and says he intends to vigorously defend himself and the force against the “`vexatious allegation.”

In a statement, Fantino says he has “absolute confidence in the ultimate outcome of this process.”

Activist Gary McHale has been trying to have Fantino charged after the commissioner allegedly sent an email in 2007 telling the mayor and councillors in Caledonia, Ont., not to attend McHale’s rallies.

McHale has led a number of rallies in the community south of Hamilton to protest what he called two-tier justice in the policing of an aboriginal land occupation.

The case was put over earlier this month until Feb. 3 after the Crown asked the court in Cayuga for more time to review new evidence relating to the allegation.

A charge of influencing or attempting to influence municipal officials is a Criminal Code offence that carries up to a five-year prison term.

The Attorney General’s office has said a special prosecutor will be assigned from the Justice Prosecutions Unit, which was set up to handle cases involving police or other justice officials and is made up of senior Crown counsels with extensive experience in criminal cases.

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