MPCC-2012-053-Interference

This complaint arose from events during the complainant Military Police (MP) member's deployment to an international military exercise that took place on land and at sea. During the course of assigned duties, the complainant and others became involved in the investigation of a sexual assault complaint made by a foreign sailor (the victim) to the local police department (LPD). The victim believed, based on limited information, that the attacker was a Canadian sailor. Canadian Forces involved in the exercise were therefore contacted by the LPD for their assistance in the investigation.

The subject naval officer of the complaint was the complainant's superior during the time of the deployment. After learning the complainant was involved in the distribution of composite sketches prepared by the LPD of two suspects in the sexual assault, the subject offered the complainant guidance as to through which channels the sketches should best be distributed to CF units in the area. The subject also requested that daily update reports be provided by the complainant on the progress of the local police investigation, so the Chief of Staff for the Commander of the Canadian contingent could be aware of any potential impact on exercise operations, including developing any possible diplomatic repercussions.

The complainant took exception to the subject's guidance on sketch distribution, and the requirement for daily updates, even on days when no new information had been provided by the LPD. The complainant was ultimately criticized by both the subject and the Chief of Staff for not keeping the Chain of Command (CoC) sufficiently informed about developments in the LPD investigation, and was ultimately repatriated to Canada prior to the conclusion of the military exercise.

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

Differing perceptions and understandings by the complainant and the complainant's superiors concerning the roles the complainant was required to fulfil at the exercise, as well as the legitimate informational requirements of the CoC, appear to be at the root of the complaint. The complainant was directly answerable and accountable to the field CoC in operational duties, and only in policing duties did the complainant exercise a certain degree of required independence. But even here, it is well established that commanders have a need to know certain information about the nature and status of investigations involving persons under their command. In addition, it is not improper interference for a member of the non-MP CoC to provide good-faith guidance on logistical aspects of an investigation, such as the manner of distributing the suspect sketches among relevant Canadian personnel.

After an extensive investigation the MPCC concluded that this interference complaint was unsubstantiated.

Date modified: