Conduct Case Summary MPCC-2015-009

This complaint arose from interactions between a member of the Military Police (MP) and the complainant, a civilian who wished to file a complaint for sexual assault through consent obtained by fraud.

In January, the complainant met a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member in a bar and became involved in an intimate relationship with him. During the following weeks, the CAF member visited the complainant and communicated with her regularly. The complainant later learned that the CAF member went by a different last name than the one he had provided when they had met, and that he was not separated from his common law partner as he had claimed. Following these events, the complainant believed the CAF member had deceived her, and that she would not have consented to pursuing an intimate relationship with him had she known the truth. In May, she contacted the Deputy Judge Advocate General (DJAG) at the Base where the CAF member had been attending a course, in order to report the matter. During this call, she also mentioned statements the CAF member had made during their relationship indicating he may be connected to dangerous individuals, as well as threatening language he had used when she had indicated she wished to report the matter.

The complainant reluctantly agreed to report the matter to the MP. An MP investigator contacted the complainant and scheduled an interview the next day. This interview had to be interrupted due to a high-priority call related to a bomb threat on the Base. When the MP investigator phoned the complainant the same evening to schedule a time to continue the interview, she indicated she had discussed the matter with her family and did not wish to go forward with any investigation. She asked that the information she had already provided be kept on file and that the CAF member not be advised she had contacted the MP.

In late June, the complainant contacted the MP investigator and indicated she now wished to proceed with her statement. A second interview was held shortly after. During this interview, the complainant explained that she had previously decided not to proceed because she had been scared, but had since made inquiries to find out more about the CAF member, and conducted legal research. The complainant indicated she now wished to proceed with filing a complaint for sexual assault through consent obtained by fraud. She advised the MP investigator that she had also contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), that the RCMP had initially told her this was not a criminal matter, but that upon being advised of her research, the RCMP had consulted with provincial Crown prosecutors and had been advised to obtain her statement so the case could be reviewed. She was to provide her statement to the RCMP in the coming weeks. The MP investigator advised the complainant that the MP did not have jurisdiction to investigate or lay charges in connection with the alleged criminal offences that took place off Base and were unrelated to the CAF member’s work duties. However, the MP investigator took the complainant’s information and advised her that a Report would be sent to the CAF member’s Commanding Officer (CO) so that the CO could determine whether to lay charges in the military justice system or take any other measures.

In September, the complainant contacted the MP Detachment to complain that no action had been taken on the file. During the following days and weeks, the MP member she spoke with made verifications about the file and advised the complainant the file would soon be sent to the CAF member’s Unit. The complainant had several conversations with this MP member and sent a number of electronic messages setting out case law, Criminal Code sections and extracts from the Code of Values and Ethics for military personnel that she believed were relevant to her case. As she had stated during her second interview with the MP investigator, the complainant felt the CAF member’s conduct breached the code of ethics and that CAF members should be held accountable to a higher standard. In October, the MP investigator contacted the RCMP to inquire about the status of their investigation, and was told the file had been provided to the provincial prosecutors for review. The MP Detachment Chain of Command (CoC) advised the complainant that the MP were waiting to find out about the results of the RCMP investigation, and whether charges would be laid in the civilian justice system, prior to sending the file to the CAF member’s CO. The complainant expressed frustration with the process, but in a subsequent call requested that the MP hold off on sending the file until a decision was made regarding charges.

In late November, the MP investigator learned that no charges were to be laid following the RCMP investigation. In early December, the MP investigator added Concluding Remarks to the file and advised the complainant it would be sent to the CAF member’s CO. The file was sent to the member’s Unit and returned with a hand-written notation indicating that Unit action was taken. In early January, the following year, the complainant contacted the MP investigator for an update. The investigator confirmed the file had been sent to the member’s Unit, but was not aware what action was taken, if any.

In late March, the complainant transmitted a complaint to the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC or the Commission).  The complaint alleges that the MP detachment, and specifically the MP investigator who was named as the subject of her complaint, failed to follow the applicable directives and protocols for reporting sexual assaults and breaches of codes of values and ethics and Acts of Parliament. In April, the complainant responded to a request for further information about her complaint. In this message, she alleged that, during her second interview with the MP investigator, the subject of the complaint attempted to dissuade her from providing additional information, telling her it would do no good and make no difference, and only reluctantly agreed to let her complete her statement after she insisted the information needed to be documented.

The complaint was directed to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) to be dealt with in the first instance as per the National Defence Act (NDA). The Canadian Forces Military Police Group’s (CF MP Gp) Professional Standards (PS) section conducted a preliminary review of the complaint. Following this review, the Deputy Commander for the CF MP Gp determined that the appropriate actions had been taken by the subject of the complaint throughout the investigation; that these actions were well documented and did not support the allegation that the applicable protocols and directives had not been followed; and that the actions taken by the subject were inconsistent with the actions of someone trying to dissuade the complainant from bringing forward her allegations. As a result, the Deputy Commander directed that no PS investigation be started.

The complainant was not satisfied with PS’ disposition of her complaint, and requested that the Commission review the matter. The Commission conducted a detailed review and analysis of the MP file and interview recordings. In addition, the Commission conducted an interview with the subject of the complaint to obtain additional clarification and conducted additional investigation to find out what action was taken by the CAF member’s Unit in this matter. Through this investigation, the Commission learned that administrative measures were taken by the Unit to address the member’s conduct.

The Commission found that both allegations in the complaint are unsubstantiated. In particular, the Commission found that the MP investigator took all necessary steps to document and report on the complainant’s allegations. As the MP investigator correctly explained to the complainant, the MP did not have jurisdiction to investigate or lay charges in relation to the alleged criminal offences which occurred outside its jurisdiction. The MP investigator appropriately advised the complainant that these allegations needed to be pursued with the RCMP. The investigator nevertheless documented the complainant’s allegations, and included the information in the MP Report. As had been explained to the complainant, a summary of this Report was sent to the CAF member’s Unit. It was for the member’s CO to determine whether to lay charges under the military justice system or take other measures. In this case, administrative measures were taken by the member’s Unit. The subject of the complaint cannot be faulted for not having sent the MP Report to the member’s CO prior to the conclusion of the RCMP investigation and the decision on whether Criminal Code charges would be laid, as this was important information to include in the Report. Further, the subject of the complaint cannot be faulted for not including every detail of the complainant’s allegations in the summary sent to the member’s Unit. The documents sent captured the essence of the allegations made by the complainant. Other allegations, including the complainant’s allegations that the CAF member made threatening statements, were appropriately documented in the MP file, and the subject of the complaint advised the complainant clearly that these aspects needed to be pursued with the RCMP and that she should contact the RCMP if she felt threatened.

The Commission also found that the subject of the complaint made no attempt to dissuade the complainant from providing additional information. The recording for the interviews conducted by the subject of the complaint show that he listened to all of the information the complainant had to provide and asked if she had additional information to provide. While the subject appropriately explained to the complainant the limits of the MP’s jurisdiction in this case, he did not tell the complainant that providing more information would make no difference. He advised her that her information would be added in the MP file and that a Report would be sent to the CAF member’s Unit, and he proceeded to record the information and have the file sent once the results of the RCMP investigation were known.

In response to the Commission’s Report, the CFPM accepted all of the Commission’s findings.

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