House Fire-Attempted Murder Public Interest Investigation (MPCC‑2016‑027) – Homepage
Ottawa (October 30, 2023) – The Military Police Complaints Commission has launched a Public Interest Investigation into a complaint about the handling of a military police investigation into the fire of a residence on Canadian Forces Base Edmonton in 2015.
There were concerns the fire at the residence of the complainant’s former spouse and their three young children had been deliberately set. The cause of the fire was investigated by the Military Police.
A possible suicide letter from the complainant’s former spouse was subsequently discovered and investigated by the Military Police. The letter was written to a close friend of the complainant’s ex-spouse a few days before the fire. It included $10,000 in cash and a message that, by the time the friend received the letter, the author would be either dead or in jail. It was signed with the first name of the complainant’s ex-spouse.
The MP investigations concluded that the letter in question was ambiguous in terms of its meaning, origins, and connection with the fire; and it could not be determined that the fire was deliberately set. At the time, no charges were laid in connection with the incident.
The complaint alleges that the 2015-16 investigation conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service Western Region into the fire was “not handled with professionalism or due diligence.”
The complaint was found to be unsubstantiated following an initial review by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal’s Office of Professional Standards. The complainant requested a review by the Military Police Complaints Commission in 2018. After reviewing the file, the Military Police Complaints Commission’s Chairperson requested that the investigation be reopened by an outside police service.
Following a re-investigation into the case led by a seconded RCMP Inspector, the complainant’s former spouse was charged with arson and several counts of attempted murder. At a trial in the Alberta Court of King’s Bench which concluded in February 2023, she was convicted on all charges.
The Military Police Complaints Commission suspended its investigation into the complaint during the re-investigation and while the matter was before the Court.
“The allegations in this complaint are serious,” said Military Police Complaints Commission Chairperson Tammy Tremblay. “If substantiated, they will amount to a failure to investigate a most serious criminal act, and one which had implications for the safety and the lives of young children.”
“The seriousness of this case is aggravated by the alleged failure of the Military Police Office of Professional Standards to notice any deficiencies when they reviewed the original Canadian Forces National Investigation Service Western Region investigations,” she said.
Further details on the complaints are available in the Decision to Conduct a Public Interest Investigation.
Updates on the progress of the investigation will be posted in the "Timeline".
For information, please contact:Michael Tansey
Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
|September 28, 2023||Decision to Conduct a Public Interest Investigation|
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