A complaint was lodged by a Warrant Officer (WO) who was the subject of allegations of domestic abuse and involved in the damage of private property. Additionally, the WO’s spouse was alleged to have uttered threats. All three allegations were investigated as part of one file by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS).
The WO was most interested in the allegations against him of domestic abuse. The WO repeatedly made contact with the military police (MP) investigators handling the file as voluntary contact from the investigators was not forthcoming. Each time, the investigators told the WO that the file covered all three allegations and they could not finalize the section of the file concerning the domestic abuse allegations, although the investigators did provide limited updates on the situation.
The first allegation of the complaint was that the military police failed to provide updates throughout the investigations. The Military Police Policies and Technical Procedures do not require the military police to inform suspects of ongoing investigations. The military police did provide updates each time the WO made contact although the information was limited due to the combination of three allegations under the same file even though the WO was mainly interested in only the domestic abuse allegation.
Also, the WO felt that the concluding letter at the end of the file did not correctly indicate that he had requested the updates. He felt that the letter suggested that the investigation team had initiated contact and he wanted the letter changed to reflect the circumstances.
In the end, the ongoing status communications were not required under the Military Police Policies and Technical Procedures, but the military police did use their discretion and updated the WO. As such, no fault could be attributed to the MPs in this regard.
The second allegation was that the WO was not informed of the conclusion of the domestic abuse allegation in a timely manner. The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC or the Commission) had previously mentioned in another case (MPCC 2006-038) that subjects should be informed of the conclusion of the investigations. Also, in MPCC 2005-024 and MPCC 2006-038, it was suggested by the Commission to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) to develop a policy for military police members to contact subjects unless there were “
operational exigencies” which required the conclusion of the investigation to be kept from the subjects. The CFPM advised that they would look into the matter.
The issue of contacting subjects of MP investigations was addressed in a Deputy Provost Marshal Police Advisory which stated that the file must contain updates every thirty days and the reason for the delays. This advisory was to maintain an updated status report of each file.
The practice of combining multiple occurrences into one investigation file was stopped by the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards in order to conclude each file separately and provide the subjects with a timely conclusion. The combination of investigation files in this case was not deemed incorrect as there are times when that course is advisable, but for most files, it was determined that each allegation would be a separate investigation file.
The recommendation suggested by the MPCC was that the WO should be offered an expression of regret for the delay in informing him of the conclusion of the domestic abuse allegation.
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