MPCC-2008-043

This case involved an incident on the grounds of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. The complainant, a private citizen, was pulled over by MP #1 for passing through a posted yield sign. MP #1 advised the dispatcher that the vehicle had an obscured licence plate. MP #1 told the complainant the vehicle’s licence plate was illegible. After MP #1 rubbed the plate, the validation sticker was clearer. The complainant says MP #1 spit directly on the plate. MP #1 issued a traffic ticket to the complainant for an obscured licence plate.

The complainant’s vehicle registration was a poor quality copy, not the original. MP #1 could not read the plate number or the validation sticker as required under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). MP #1 explained that while the copy was not legal he would not charge the complainant for this offence.

The complainant alleged that MP #1 was bullying and abusive during the traffic stop; inappropriately spit on the complainant’s licence plate; incorrectly stated the complainant could be ticketed for carrying a photocopy of the registration; and, did not explain the complainant could challenge the traffic tickets in court.

MP #2 overheard the call to the dispatcher and went to the incident, parking behind MP #1’s vehicle. MP #2 did not see MP #1 wiping the licence plate and did not hear the conversation between the two individuals.

The complainant alleged that following the incident MP #2 tailgated his vehicle for no apparent reason. MP #2 states he followed at about one car length without tailgating. When MP #1 learned of the conduct complaint, he supplemented his notes with input from the dispatcher and MP #2.

The Commission found that two allegations against MP #1 were substantiated. MP #1 acted discourteously and unprofessionally which intimidated and humiliated the complainant; and, MP# 1 did not properly consider exercising discretion to issue a warning and unreasonably fettered his own discretion when ticketing the complainant.

The remaining allegations against MP #1 and MP #2 were found to be unsubstantiated. The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) accepted the Commission’s recommendations that 1) MP #1 be offered assistance and guidance on dealing with people; on properly exercising professional judgment and discretion; and on the importance of taking proper investigation notes; 2) there be prompt and proper implementation of technology, such as the Motor Vehicle Registration System, to preserve evidence; 3) proper MP note-taking procedures are maintained and reinforced; and, 4) MP members at all levels be reminded of mandatory procedures related to MP conduct complaints and steps be taken to ensure no repetition of errant procedures in the handling of this particular complaint.

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