Conduct Case Summary MPCC-2013-024

In 2012, an individual entered the Military Police (MP) Detachment on a Canadian Forces Base (CFB) 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 The impaired driving charges laid against the driver were later withdrawn by the Crown Attorney’s Office.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, or Commission). He alleged that the Detachment WO misled the MP member who conducted the interviews and caused her to conduct the interviews in an inappropriate manner, including by forcing the individual interviewed to provide a written statement and by failing to advise him of his rights and jeopardy. The complainant also alleged that the Detachment Lieutenant inappropriately failed to impose a remedial measure on the WO when he decided to impose the remedial measure on the MP member involved, and failed to refer the matter to the Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CF MP Gp) Professional Standards (PS) Section or to the MPCC for investigation.

The Deputy Commander for the CF MP Gp conducted a preliminary review of the complaint and determined that the matters complained about did not involve policing duties or functions, and directed that no PS investigation be started.

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

The Commission identified five separate allegations of misconduct brought by the complainant, three relating to the conduct of the interview, one relating to the alleged involvement of the WO and one relating to the Lieutenant’s response. The Commission conducted an investigation and interviewed several witnesses, including the complainant and two of the subjects of the complaint.

The Commission concluded the allegation about the Lieutenant’s conduct does not relate to the performance of policing duties or functions and, as such, cannot be considered as part of a conduct complaint. As a result, the Commission made no finding or comment with respect to this allegation. However, the Commission found all of the other allegations substantiated. In particular, the Commission found that the individual interviewed should have been treated as a suspect when he was brought back for a second interview, as there were reasons to believe an offence had been committed, and one of the purposes of the second interview was to ascertain whether the individual was involved in that offence. As such, he should have been immediately cautioned and advised of his rights and jeopardy, and the MP member should not have been wearing her side arm during the interview. In addition, the individual should not have been told he had to provide a written statement.

The Commission found that these failures were largely the result of advice and guidance provided by the Detachment WO. While the MP member involved does retain some responsibility for the manner in which they approached the interview, they cannot be completely faulted for following their superior’s advice. The WO provided faulty guidance and also failed to intervene to correct the situation, even though the WO was monitoring the interview and could see the conduct unfold.

To address these issues, the Commission recommended that the WO receive additional training related to the conduct of interviews and applicable MP policies. The Commission also recommended that the WO receive specific guidance about the circumstances when individuals being interviewed need to be treated as suspects. The Commission concluded that no recommendations were necessary to address the conduct of the MP member directly involved in the interviews, because training and coaching had already been received to address the issues.

In response to the Commission’s Report, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) noted all of the Commission’s findings, and stated that the actions of the MP members involved were not in accordance with existing policies or procedures. The CFPM also accepted all of the Commission’s recommendations, and stated they will be implemented.

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