Conduct Case MPCC‑2018‑026 Summary

This complaint concerns the handling of a sexual assault allegation and investigation by members of the Canadian Forces National Investigation (CFNIS), as well as the handling of an alleged theft of money. The complainant in this case is a (now retired) Military Police (MP) member who was the subject of the sexual assault investigation, and victim of the alleged theft.

At the time of the alleged sexual assault, the complainant and the sexual assault victim were deployed to provide support to a naval training exercise in a foreign country. During an evening following their arrival in the foreign country, the complainant, the victim, and other members of their unit, went out to a nearby pub together. Later the next morning, the victim reported the alleged sexual assault by the complainant to her chain of command (CoC). However, she did not file a formal complaint of sexual assault at this time.

A few months later, following a “Canadian Forces Unit Brief on Sexual Misconduct”, the victim met with the superior officer who delivered the brief, to discuss the alleged sexual assault by the complainant. Following this meeting, this superior officer reported the sexual assault to the CFNIS.

Following an investigation and pre‑charge advice from the military prosecutor, the complainant was arrested and charged under s. 130 of the National Defence Act with one count of sexual assault, contrary to s. 271 of the Criminal Code. At his court martial some eighteen months later, the complainant was acquitted.

Shortly after the conclusion of his court martial, the complainant filed a complaint with the local Military Police Unit (MPU) regarding the theft of money from his hotel room on the same night as the alleged sexual assault. Information regarding this theft came to light during the complainant’s court martial. After holding the matter in abeyance pending the outcome of the Crown’s unsuccessful attempt to appeal the acquittal in the sexual assault case, the MPU completed its investigation of the theft allegation and sought legal advice. It was concluded that the evidence supported a charge of stealing, contrary to s. 114 of the National Defence Act. The MP investigation report was referred to the suspect’s unit for any disciplinary or administrative action they might deem appropriate.

The complainant submitted a conduct complaint on the handling of both MP investigations. The specific allegations were as follows:

  1. CFNIS lead investigator failed to follow-up on the complainant’s allegation of theft of money reported during their interview.
  2. CFNIS lead investigator improperly conducted the interview of witness 1 by using leading questions.
  3. CFNIS lead investigator improperly conducted the interview of witness 2 by using leading questions.
  4. The McNeil Report regarding the lead CFNIS investigator was not disclosed as required.
  5. CFNIS mishandled the media strategy regarding their investigation into the alleged sexual assault (the complainant first learned of the suspension of his MP credentials from the news media, rather than his CoC).

The Office of Professional Standards (PS) of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal is responsible for the initial examination and disposition of MP conduct complaints.

PS found that allegation 2 (excessive leading of witness 1 during their interview) was substantiated, however, the other allegations were unsubstantiated. PS concluded that allegation 5 did not fall within the ambit of the MP conduct complaint process, as it involved the performance of administrative, rather than policing, duties.

Following its own investigation of the complaint, the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) concluded that all of allegations 1 through 4 were unsubstantiated and agreed with PS’s determination that allegation 5 pertained to administrative, rather than policing, duties.

The theft allegation was in fact addressed by the local MPU. The incident was investigated by these MPs and a pre-charge opinion of was sought from the military prosecutor. The file was referred to the suspect’s CoC for appropriate action. Non-CFNIS MPs do not have charge-laying authorities under the Code of Service Discipline.

With respect to allegations 2 and 3, the MPCC did not find the use of leading interview questions to be excessive.

Finally, conduct records of the CFNIS investigators (i.e., McNeil Reports) were provided to the military prosecutor. It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to disclose these to the accused if necessary.

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