Lawyer for Ottawa fire captain ‘cannot fathom’ why client charged with failing to give medical assistance

A firefighter said they were choked by a comrade and asked the captain if they could leave and go to the hospital, but was told to finish their shift. Ottawa police have charged the captain with failing to provide medical to a fellow firefighter.

Article content

On the surface, the charges against Captain Gregory Wright, a longtime Ottawa firefighter, look pretty bad because police have accused him of failing to give medical assistance to a fellow firefighter.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Wright, 56, was charged in the fall by Ottawa police with criminal negligence in what they called a “hate-motivated assault incident.”

Article content

It was Sept. 14, and there was no fire.

It all went down in the firehouse lunchroom, according to police.

A firefighter said they were choked by a comrade and asked the captain if they could leave and go to the hospital, but was told to finish their shift.

A live issue if the case ever reaches trial will be whether the Crown can prove bodily harm beyond a reasonable doubt. If the case gets to trial, medical reports — including photos taken after the alleged assault — will be examined in court.

It should be noted that Wright was not involved in the alleged assault and was charged only for what he did or didn’t do after.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Wright’s defence lawyer, Joshua Clarke, says he can’t understand why Ottawa police would charge the veteran firefighter.

“While we respect the criminal process, we cannot fathom why he has been charged with this offence, having done nothing wrong. It is our intent to challenge the Crown’s case if necessary. We are optimistic this can be resolved relatively quickly,” Clarke told this newspaper.

Wright is on leave and so is firefighter Eric Einagel, charged with choking a non-binary firefighter at the station on Sept. 14.

The assault charges against Einagel were announced by the Ottawa police hate-crimes unit in November. Einagel is represented by Dominic Lamb, who declined comment on this story.

A city official said at the time the city would do an internal investigation.

Advertisement 4

Article content

“The city is assessing next steps in accordance with the city’s discipline policy,” said Kim Ayotte, the city’s general manager of emergency and protective services.

“We are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.”

After charges were laid in the fall, Ottawa Fire Services Chief Paul Hutt said in a staff email that the service would not tolerate “inappropriate behaviours” in the workplace and encouraged employees to report such misconduct to management. He urged staff not to gossip or make assumptions about the incident before the courts.

“While incidents like this are isolated,” Hutt wrote, “the effects can be difficult to process and are far-reaching.”

With files from Andrew Duffy

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment