MPCC-2010-043

This complaint arose out of an MP investigation into an alleged sexual assault which occurred at an armoury during a party held at the conclusion of a military training course for reserve members.  The alleged victim was a student on the course.  Initially, those in charge of the training course sought to conduct an administrative unit investigation; however, they soon understood it was necessary to hand over the matter to the MPs.

The complainant, a course instructor, was implicated by the victim and became the subject of the ensuing MP investigation.  The complainant was arrested and charged by the MPs with sexual assault.  He was convicted at trial and sentenced to three years imprisonment.  His conviction was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered.  At his second trial, the complainant was acquitted.  He subsequently filed a conduct complaint against the lead MP investigator.

In his complaint, the complainant alleged the investigation conducted by the investigator was biased, incomplete and unprofessional. He further charged the subject MP member had conducted herself unprofessionally during an attempt to execute a DNA warrant and by allegedly making harassing phone calls to his spouse.  The complainant also claimed the MP investigator ordered the destruction of evidence, namely, notes and statements produced in the initial unit administrative investigation conducted by the course officer and NCO.  Finally, the complainant maintained that it was contrary to the terms of the DNA warrant to have attempted to execute it at his place of work.

After its own investigation, the Commission determined that, indeed, some significant steps were missed in the MP investigation of this case; however, there was no evidence of bias on the part of the investigator.  The Commission also determined there was nothing improper in the MPs’ attempt to track down the complainant at the offices of his employer for the purposes of executing the DNA warrant.  The timeframe for executing the warrant, as stipulated by the issuing judge, made it most likely that it would need to be done during working hours.  The MPs did not reveal their reason for wanting to see the complainant. The owners of the business, who were present in the office at the time, thought that the MPs acted professionally.  The relevant provision of the Criminal Code (s. 487.07(3)) speaks to the need to respect a suspect’s reasonable privacy interests, and no further specific conditions in this vein were stipulated by the judge.  Nor was there adequate evidence to link the subject of the complaint to any of the harassing phone calls allegedly received by the complainant’s spouse.  Finally, the Commission found no evidence of any direction to destroy evidence, although it was a mistake for the MPs not to avail themselves of the material generated by the unit investigation and not to interview the course officer and NCO who had conducted it.

Given the passage of time (eight years since the MP investigation), and the fact the investigator’s supervisors have since retired from the military, the Commission saw no need to recommend any individual remedial measures.  However, the Commission did recommend a review, and verification, of the adequacy of, MP training standards and technical direction regarding sexual assault investigations.

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