Conduct Case MPCC‑2016‑029 Summary

The complainant, a retired Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) reservist alleged that an investigation by the Military Police that led to criminal charges against him was conducted in a negligent manner. He also alleged that investigation and charge-laying protocols were not followed, search warrants were executed improperly, the investigation was not properly supervised, he was not informed that he was being investigated, he was not provided an opportunity to make a statement or provide exculpatory evidence, and he was improperly provided with sensitive information on an unrelated matter.

The conduct complaint was dealt with in the first instance by the Professional Standards (PS) Branch of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) as per subsection 250.26(1) of the National Defence Act. Professional Standards found the complaint to be unsubstantiated and so the complainant referred it to the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (Commission) for review.

Upon receipt of the complaint, the Commission requested disclosure of all relevant Military Police file materials from the CFPM. The Commission conducted a detailed review of the materials received from the CFPM, in order to assess whether the Commission needed to take additional investigative steps. The Commission determined that further investigation was necessary, including interviews of the complainant, the subjects, and a number of witnesses.

The Commission identified six subjects of the conduct complaint. All of them at the time of the criminal investigation of the complainant were Military Police members assigned to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS). One was the lead investigator, two assisted in the execution of the search warrants and three acted in a supervisory capacity.

The Commission found that the criminal investigation had been conducted in a reasonable manner and that the Military Police had brought their evidence to legal counsel to seek advice before charges were laid. The proper investigatory and charge-laying procedures were followed and the search warrants were executed properly. The Commission also found that the investigation was properly supervised, and the complainant was provided an opportunity to make a statement or provide exculpatory evidence on a number of occasions. The Commission found that the complainant was not informed of the investigation until the search warrants were executed which was appropriate in order to preserve evidence. These allegations by the complainant, therefore, were found to be unsubstantiated.

The Commission found that the complainant was mistakenly provided with sensitive information on an unrelated matter as part of the disclosure provided to him concerning the charges laid against him. While this disclosure had no effect on the prosecution of the complainant and the allegation before this Commission was found to be unsubstantiated, the Commission made efforts to look at what policies and procedures are in place to try to prevent or at least minimize the inadvertent disclosure of materials from unrelated matters. It found that a new Military Police Order on this issue has been put in place. The Commission recommended that the CFPM ensure that the Military Police follow the guidance provided by the new Military Police Order to prevent inadvertent disclosure.

In response to the Commission’s Report, the CFPM accepted the Commission’s findings and recommendation in this matter.

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