Interference Case MPCC‑2013‑035 Summary

In May 2012, an individual entered the Military Police (MP) Detachment on a Canadian Forces Base looking for assistance because he had locked his keys in his vehicle. The MP members suspected the individual was impaired, and had reasons to believe he had been driving the vehicle. He failed a roadside test and was arrested and transported to a nearby Royal Canadian Mounted Police Detachment.

Two individuals who had been passengers in the vehicle were brought to the MP Detachment to be interviewed. Due to the contradictory information they provided about who was driving the vehicle and where the passengers were seated, the MP member who conducted the interviews began to suspect that one or both of the passengers were providing false information. After consultation with the Detachment Warrant Officer (WO), the MP member brought one of the passengers back to the interview room for a second interview. She confronted him with the contradictions and told him he could be charged with an offence for lying to the police. He eventually admitted he had lied and that the individual already arrested had in fact been driving the vehicle. No charges were laid against either of the two passengers. The impaired driving charges laid against the driver were later withdrawn by the Crown Attorney’s Office.

The complainant became aware of the incident in the course of his duties and, in 2013, he transmitted a complaint to the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC). He alleged that the Detachment WO misled the MP member who conducted the interviews and interfered in her investigation. He alleged the direction provided by the WO caused the MP member to conduct the interviews in an inappropriate manner.

The MPCC held the investigation in abeyance while the Canadian Forces MP Group, Professional Standards section, investigated complaints related to the conduct of the Detachment WO and the Detachment Lieutenant in relation to the same incident. The MPCC then conducted an investigation and interviewed several witnesses, including the complainant and the subject of the complaint.

The MPCC concluded that the complainant could bring an interference complaint in this case, as he was involved in supervising the investigation, due to his position and duties. However, the MPCC found that the allegation that the Detachment WO interfered in the conduct of the investigation was unsubstantiated. While the evidence obtained by the MPCC showed that the WO did provide erroneous direction or advice during the conduct of the interviews, there was no evidence indicating the WO was acting for an improper purpose or outside of his role and duties as an MP supervisor. As such, his conduct did not amount to improper interference under the National Defence Act. In light of this finding, and because the MPCC made recommendations in another Report to address the errors in the advice and guidance provided by the WO, the MPCC made no recommendations in this Report.

In response to the MPCC’s Report, the Chief of the Defence Staff stated he agrees with the MPCC’s finding, and indicated no action will be taken because the MPCC made no recommendation in this matter.

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