MPCC-2012-052-Interference

This complaint arose from events during the complainant Military Police (MP) member's deployment to a military exercise that took place on land and at sea. During the course of assigned duties, the complainant and others became involved in a case involving suspected child pornography in the possession of a sailor participating in the exercise.

The Canadian Forces National Investigative Service (CFNIS) was called in to assume carriage of the case. It also happened at this point in time that the subject of this complaint, the complainant's superior (a naval officer), decided to repatriate the complainant for performance reasons. At one point in the course of these events, the subject, in an email to the complainant, instructed the latter not to conduct any investigation of the child pornography matter, as the CFNIS was involved.

The subject also directed that the complainant, in the course of returning to the Canadian Forces Base, was to escort the sailor, who was the subject of the aforementioned investigation, back as well. When the complainant raised concerns that as an MP member he would be obliged to caution the sailor and allow the sailor to exercise the right to counsel, the subject responded that the complainant was to complete the escort as a CF warrant officer, not as an MP. The complainant was also requested to sign an acknowledgement letter which confirmed the complainant was not escorting the sailor back to Canada as an MP; however, there is no evidence this was directed by the subject of the complaint.

The complainant sought advice from the MP Services Group in Canada in response to the request to sign the document stating the complainant was not acting as an MP when conducting the escort. The MP Services Group advised him not to sign the letter of acknowledgement, as the complainant could not suspend his MP status. The complainant never signed the letter, but did accompany the sailor suspect back to Canada.

The complainant filed an interference complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) concerning the subject's actions.

The direction by the subject to the complainant - not to investigate a criminal matter because the CFNIS had already confirmed their pending involvement - initially seemed troubling to the MPCC. However, when taken in its factual context, the MPCC concluded the direction simply reflected the subject's understanding that any legitimate investigative role for the complainant was displaced by the involvement of the CFNIS. Moreover, the complainant did not take steps to explain to the subject any understanding of any ongoing investigative role pending the arrival of the CFNIS.

A related issue is the request made of the complainant to sign a written acknowledgement to the effect that the complainant would conduct the suspect's escort only as a warrant officer, not an MP, and that the repatriation of the suspect was exclusively for health reasons; which acknowledgement the complainant refused to sign. While it was not appropriate to try to get the complainant to sign such a statement, there was no evidence that the acknowledgement was pursued at the behest of the subject.

After an extensive investigation, the MPCC reached the conclusion that this interference complaint was unsubstantiated.

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