Toronto
3 min

Porn theatre’s shut down

The bar is now closed. And seven more Bijou patrons are facing sex crime charges.



The Bijou was once again raided – on Canada Day – bringing the number of customers charged with committing an indecent act to 19 since the raids started.



“The misfortune for those individuals,” says Det Sgt Doug Singleton of 52 Division, “was that they were in a bar that was completely

disregarding all the major administrative mandates.”



The cinema itself faces at least 12 liquor charges.



Though police are still tallying, it makes for a combined total of more than 30 charges against the Bijou and its customers.



But police claim they’re not trying to shut the place down.



“The intent of this is to ensure that there is compliance with the liquor licence act by a liquor licence holder,” says Singleton. “If you’re running a bar, you’ve got to run it like a business.



“The owner hasn’t talked to us. So we can only do the route we can.”



Canada Day’s shakedown marks the fourth time that police have hassled Bijou customers in less than three weeks. The Bijou itself faces new charges, including three counts of permitting disorderly conduct, and single charges of failing to provide supervision, failing to comply with the health and protection act, and failing to facilitate inspection.



The Bijou’s cashier was also charged with obstructing a peace officer. Unlike customers, however, who were released on the scene on promises to appear, the cashier was trotted down to the station, before his release later that day.





NO PROMISES



With Toronto’s chief of police not returning calls, a 52 Division cop says his people will arrest gay men having sex in bathhouses.



“If my officers enter into a liquor licence premise, where there is activity taking place, which under the Criminal Code of Canada is listed as an illegal activity, they would have to take action,” says Det Sgt Doug Singleton.



“They cannot ignore what is still in the Criminal Code.”



The last time police raided bathhouses, in 1981, more than 300 men were arrested and thousands of dollars in property damage. The action created Toronto’s gay rights movement as we know it today – when gay men, lesbians and friends took to the streets in massive protests lasting months.



With police getting randier for raids, they say a revival isn’t out of the question.



Like the beleaguered Bijou, the Spa on Maitland and Spa Excess carry liquor licences, subjecting both to regular undercover inspections.



When first asked if tub users have anything to worry about, Singleton said his officers “haven’t been in any of the bathhouses.”



This, however, didn’t jive with Downtown City Councillor Kyle Rae’s report confirming such undercover activity (though he adds that such visits have been uneventful).



Told this, Singleton changes his tune. “I’m not sending [officers] out to say, ‘Alright, tonight we go and hit a bathhouse.’



“Nothing like that, but if people are in a bathhouse that has a liquor licence – it’s in my division, my plainclothesmen are in checking the liquor licence – it’s just like you can’t be in a bar and light up a spliff….



“The police come into check the liquor licence, and to make sure – well, the liquor licence holder is allowing criminal activity to take place on the premise.”



“Are my officers going out now and looking for charges in the bathhouses? They have other things they are doing besides liquor charges. There’s prostitution, which is a problem in this division. There’s crack cocaine, marijuana, hashish, ecstasy – drug use in this division. There is gambling in this division, so they also have to devote their time to that.”



Police chief David Boothby did not return calls.





THE DATES



For as many things as the Bijou may have been failing to do under the

terms of its licence, police are failing to handle a few basics themselves.



They are hard-pressed to calculate just how many liquor licence charges the Bijou has been written up with.



For now, Det Sgt Doug Singleton pegs it at about 12 or 13, but not all of the charges have been served.



Police have also released incorrect court information, first claiming the original eight men charged in the Jun 13 bust would be in court on Jun 28. When a search of that date’s docket provided no listing of charges dating back to the original bust, Singleton then claimed the real date for the first crew busted – as well as four more charged on Jun 15 – was now Jul 27.



However, two of the men charged telephoned Xtra to say that’s not right – they’re both due in court Jul 22.



Singleton is stumped.



“I’m going to have to get back to you. I can’t give you the stuff right now.



“You gotta work with me and understand that I am not an officer now who goes out on the road very often. I’ve got to find out who the parties are who are issuing the form nines, and then get somebody to run the names in the computer to get the dates, and I can’t do that right now.”



He hasn’t been giving out bogus info. “No, I don’t have the dates at my finger tips. Everything’s computerized, and I have to find out a… I don’t know who the… What the names of these people are.”



It’s been weeks now, and Xtra has filed three Freedom Of Information requests in an attempt to confirm the court dates of those men who have been charged.



However, even before the request reached police HQ, a staffer in the Freedom Of Information Unit said the request will be denied.