Public Interest Investigations and Hearings
The Commission's Chair may, at any time, cause the Commission to conduct an investigation, and, if warranted, hold a hearing on a complaint even in cases where the complainant has withdrawn his complaint.
In exercising this statutory discretion, the Chairperson considers a number of factors including, among others:
- Does the complaint involve allegations of especially serious misconduct?
- Do the issues have the potential to affect confidence in the MP or the complaints process?
- Does the complaint involve or raise questions about the integrity of senior military or DND officials, including senior MP members?
- Are the issues involved likely to have a significant impact on MP practices and procedures?
- Has the case attracted substantial public concern?
If it is a conduct complaint, this decision by the Chair relieves the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal of the obligation to deal with the complaint.
The Commission has substantial powers in the conduct of hearings, including administering oaths, calling witnesses, by subpoena if necessary, and compelling them to give evidence under oath, and to produce documents. The Commission is also empowered to receive evidence and information, whether admissible in a court of law or not, subject to certain restrictions in the National Defence Act.
In most instances, hearings are open to the public, although exceptions can be made when factors such as privacy and national security are a concern.
Any person who appears before the Commission can choose to be represented by legal counsel at a hearing.
The Commission is required to give both sides notice of hearing. In addition, the Commission has the discretion to pay travel and living expenses to both parties to a complaint and their respective counsel, subject to the National Defence Act.
If the complaint relates to conduct that is the subject of a disciplinary or criminal proceedings before a Court or tribunal of first instance, the Commission's hearing may not take place until those proceedings have been completed.
The Rules of Procedure for Hearings Before the Military Police Complaints Commission, S.O.R./2002-241 outline the procedure to be followed by all persons involved in a hearing before the Military Police Complaints Commission.
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