Conduct Case MPCC‑2017‑026 Summary

The complainant, a senior Army officer, was charged in 2015 in connection with a historical allegation of sexual misconduct with a former Army cadet. The charges included sexual exploitation, sexual interference, sexual assault and breach of trust. Following a preliminary inquiry in 2016, all the charges were withdrawn prior to trial.

The complainant filed this conduct complaint in 2017. The complaint alleged various errors and unfairness on the part of Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigators throughout the investigation, arrest and charging process. After an investigation, the Office of Professional Standards of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) found all nine allegations of the complaint to be unsubstantiated. In July 2018, the complainant requested a review by the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC).

The complainant advised in March 2020, that he wished to withdraw this complaint. The MPCC Chairperson decided to accept this withdrawal, however, she also chose to issue a Letter of Observation.

The Letter of Observation noted that the lateness of the withdrawal in this case was unsatisfactory. Considerable time and effort had been devoted to the case, the withdrawal coming after the completion of witness interviews – essentially just prior to the drafting of the MPCC’s Interim Report. In its letter, the MPCC observed that, while it chose not to do so in this case, it retained the discretion to complete its review and issue an Interim and Final Report in future late withdrawal cases.

In its letter, the MPCC also commented on the substance of the complaint. The MPCC observed that, based on the available evidence, the CFNIS investigation seemed to have been generally well conducted. The MPCC also observed that the complainant had been fairly and well treated at the time of his arrest.

On the other hand, the MPCC observed that the CFNIS investigators may have acted with undue haste in terms of the timing and form of the complainant’s arrest. While the CFNIS had reasonable grounds to believe that an offence had been committed, the investigators neither sought an arrest warrant nor properly satisfied themselves that a warrantless arrest was necessary in the circumstances, as required by subsection 495(2) of the Criminal Code. The MPCC also noted that having sought the advice of the provincial prosecutors’ office regarding the appropriate charges, the CFNIS investigators could, and should, have waited the few more weeks it would have taken to receive the legal advice. This was a historical case where no current risks to other persons had been identified.

The MPCC did not deem these observations to be formal findings and recommendations in respect of the complaint, and so no response from the CFPM was required.

Date modified: