Conduct Case MPCC‑2020‑001 Summary

The complainant reported a sexual assault by another member of his military unit with his local military police (MP) detachment. The complaint was immediately forwarded to the regional office of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), which declined to investigate citing jurisdictional reasons. Consequently, the local MP detachment investigated and recommended a charge of sexual assault. However, no charge was laid by the unit commanding officer (CO).

Dissatisfied with the decision not to lay charges, the complainant filed a conduct complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC). The complainant stated that the unit CO should have been interviewed as a witness and he should not have decided on the charges given his personal relationship with the suspect.

The Office of Professional Standards (PS) of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) referred the complaint to the CFNIS for reconsideration. A senior CFNIS officer upheld the CFNIS earlier decision not to take over the investigation.

The MPCC did not find that the two investigating MP members and the local detachment commander committed misconduct as claimed by the complainant. Regarding the senior CFNIS officer, the MPCC found that, regardless of the merits of the senior CFNIS officer’s decision, she should have obtained legal advice before upholding the CFNIS Regional Office’s prior decision to decline investigation of the sexual assault complaint.

In this file, the MPCC noted the MP investigators did not explore or develop several lines of questioning, despite the complainant was interviewed by the MP on three occasions. In addition, the MPCC noted that none of the interviews were audio or video recorded which is not best practice. The MPCC recommended that the CFPM remind one of the subject MP members of the best practices and requirements for documenting investigations. In the notice of action, the CFPM stated that the subject MP member had reviewed the MP Orders specified. However, since the CFPM did not specify whether the subject MP member had been reminded of the best practices as recommended in accordance with the MP Order that outlines MP policy and procedures for keeping and maintaining notebook entries and the MP Order that describes note-taking procedures, the MPCC considers this recommendation to have been only partially accepted.

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