MPCC-2004-043

Facts and complaint

Following a number of calls to the base Military Police from a unit at the Permanent Married Quarters, a Canadian Forces member was arrested and charged with assault against his spouse. He was later released on an undertaking with certain conditions and his spouse was informed. The complainant, a civilian, arrived at the couple's home from out of town and was advised by the military police of her son's arrest and that she would have to leave as her son's spouse did not want her there. Within a short while, the complainant filed several complaints against military police members regarding their treatment of her and her son. The complainant was also arrested at one point and charged as a result of a complaint against her by her son's spouse; however, the charge was subsequently withdrawn. In her complaints, the complainant alleged that, among other things, the subject members had failed to serve court documents, failed to properly respond to a complaint filed by her son, attempted to interfere with a court proceeding, acted in bad faith, and had harassed her and discriminated against her because of the investigation involving her son. She also alleged that one of the subject members was negligent in the handling of her report of stolen property, and that others had improperly disclosed personal information regarding her and her son contrary to the Privacy Act. The complainant continued to file allegations while the Professional Standards investigation was ongoing. In most cases, these complaints were added to the list already being investigated but a few allegations were not accepted because the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards found that they were repetitions of previously filed complaints.

Decision of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal

In the Report of Findings and Actions the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards found that most of the complainant's allegations were not supported. However, several of the allegations were supported by the investigation which found that, among other things, the conditions imposed upon the complainant's son following his arrest were excessive, the arrest of the complainant was badly handled and the subject members did not have sufficient grounds for the charge, and that personal information about the complainant's son was released and his privacy rights were breached. The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards further found that there was no evidence of bad faith or malice on the part of any of the military police members involved and recommended remedial training and counselling be provided to the subject members.

The complainant was not satisfied with the disposition and requested that the Complaints Commission review the file.

Findings and Recommendations of the Complaints Commission

The Interim Chairperson noted that the investigation of the various allegations by the Professional Standards investigator had been thorough and objective, and he agreed with the disposition of the complaints that were investigated. The Interim Chairperson noted that the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards supported some of the complainant's more serious complaints and directed corrective action. The complainant also mentioned some concerns with respect to other matters, but these were administrative functions not related to Military Police members and therefore outside the Complaints Commission's jurisdiction. The Interim Chairperson also noted that a better understanding of the responsibilities and jurisdiction of the Military Police would help complainants to appreciate the limitations under which the subject members carry out their duties, especially in relation to civilian matters such as family law.

The Complaints Commission found that the complainant's stolen property report had been mishandled by a military police subject member. The report had been filed at another military base and was supposedly forwarded to the complainant's son's base. However, when the complainant asked what had happened with the report she was told that no such report had ever been filed at her son's base. Her allegation regarding the handling of the stolen property report was not included in the tasking instructions to the Professional Standards investigator. Because the property in question was matrimonial property (a civil matter) and a certain amount of time had passed, the Interim Chairperson declined to recommend an investigation of that issue.

The Interim Chairperson also looked at the issue of a systemic problem within the MP detachment regarding the use of arrest powers and the conditional release of suspects following arrest. In his report, the Professional Standards investigator had recommended remedial training in this area for all detachment members and the Interim Chairperson was pleased that this recommendation was implemented.

Reply of the Complaints Commission following the Notice of Action of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal

The Interim Chairperson was pleased that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal has accepted the findings and acted upon the recommendations of the Complaints Commission.

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