MPCC-2013-033

In February 2013, the Military Policy (MP) Detachment received a call from the wife of a soldier, indicating her husband had sexually assaulted her young sister. Two MP members attended the residence in response to the call. One MP member went inside and spoke with the victim and the soldier’s wife.

During this time, the other MP member remained outside the residence and spoke with the soldier. The suspect spontaneously began making statements admitting he had touched his sister‑in‑law. The MP member arrested him and brought him to the MP Detachment. At the Detachment, the MP member conducted an interview with the suspect. The suspect provided details of the incident, and admitted to the inappropriate touching. After the interview was concluded, the suspect was placed in an open cell to sleep while the MP members determined next steps.

The next morning, the arresting MP member released the suspect to the Unit Duty Sergeant. He advised the suspect and the Duty Sergeant that the suspect was not to return to his residence, that accommodations would be provided for him by the Unit, and that Unit personnel would retrieve any personal items for him at his residence. No charges were laid, and no legal release conditions were imposed on the suspect.

Two days later, the suspect was called into the Detachment for an interview. After the interview, the suspect was arrested again and was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation. He was then released with a Promise to Appear and numerous release conditions, including not to communicate with the victim and with his wife, and to stay away from his residence.

The complainant alleged that the MP members improperly failed to impose release conditions on the suspect the first time he was released; that the Detachment Warrant Officer (WO) was responsible for this failure, as he had let this happen despite knowing conditions needed to be imposed; and that another MP member had suggested release conditions be imposed, but that the WO had told him not to get involved and had prevented him from providing assistance.

The Deputy Commander, Canadian Forces Military Police Group, determined that the matters complained about did not involve policing duties or functions, and directed that no Professional Standards investigation be started.

The complainant requested a review of his complaint by the MPCC pursuant to section 250.31 of the National Defence Act.

The MPCC found both allegations unsubstantiated. The MPCC found that the release of the suspect without charge or legal release conditions was not improper, and no policies were breached, and the exercise of policing discretion by the MP members involved was reasonable in the circumstances. In this case, the suspect was released to his Unit, and during the two days prior to his re‑arrest, the conditions imposed through the Unit achieved all the same purposes as legal release conditions. The MPCC made recommendations to address the shortcomings identified during the review in terms of the lack of sufficient notes and records regarding the directions provided and received and the insufficient information obtained by the WO, in his role as a supervisor, regarding the investigative steps taken and the status of the suspect. The MPCC recommended that instructions be provided to MP members and supervisors to ensure that records of direction provided and received are kept and that supervisors remain informed of the status of investigations and of persons detained or released.

In response to the MPCC’s Report, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) accepted all of the MPCC’s findings. The CFPM also accepted all of the MPCC’s recommendations, and indicated that existing policies and procedures will be reviewed and updated as required.

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