Conduct Case MPCC‑2006‑032, MPCC‑2006‑033, MPCC‑2006‑037 Summary
Following a Department of National Defence (DND) audit investigation, a criminal investigation of the complainant was undertaken by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS). As a result of the CFNIS investigation, the complainant was arrested and charged with one count of fraud on the government and one count of breach of trust by a public officer under the Criminal Code of Canada. The complainant pled guilty to one count of fraud on the government contrary to paragraph 121(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada (government employee accepting an unauthorized benefit from anyone having dealings with that government) and received a conditional discharge.
The complainant made the following six allegations against the CFNIS investigation:
- malicious prosecution;
- discrimination and harassment;
- racial profiling;
- misleading the complainant’s co-workers with biased opinions about his professional conduct and reputation;
- unprofessional conduct causing embarrassment to the complainant and his family; and
- great personal financial costs being incurred by the complainant and damage to reputation and to the complainant’s health.
As the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal’s (CFPM’s) delegate, the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards (DPM PS) was tasked with investigating the complainant’s allegations. Following the completion of the investigation, the DPM PS issued its report and findings. The complainant then requested the Commission review this report in accordance with the National Defence Act (NDA) section 250.31.
Prior to its review of the complaint, the DPM PS investigation and report in this case became the subject of new complaints from two other individuals.
Due to the voluminous nature of the information associated with these three complaints, their related fact patterns, and in the interests of economy and efficiency, the Commission proposed, and the CFPM agreed, that the investigation of these three complaints should be conducted jointly. However, this significantly complicated and lengthened the timeline of this investigation which involved the review of thousands of pages of evidence and many recorded interview tapes, as well as interviewing multiple witnesses.
The Commission carried out a comprehensive and lengthy investigation and determined none of the complainant’s six allegations were substantiated. However, the Commission did find the inaccuracies and imprecisions in various reports and other documentation prepared during the course of the CFNIS investigation, including documents presented to prosecutorial and judicial authorities, were the result of: investigator inexperience; deficient methodology used by the investigators to prepare interview summaries; and inadequate supervisory and quality assurance practices in the CFNIS Special Investigations detachment at the time.
The Commission recommendations, which were accepted by the CFPM, involved policy, procedures, training, and supervision matters. For example:
- the CFPM should review operational, financial and administrative policies with respect to: interviews, note taking, and the transcription of interviews; the adequacy of police supervision for all investigations; ensuring the CFNIS’ ability to support appropriate major case management; and the adequacy of storage, maintenance and protection of file documentation and evidence practices;
- supervisors should be reminded of their ongoing responsibilities for supervision, guidance, direction and training of subordinate employees;
- Major Case Management training should be provided to CFNIS supervisors to ensure awareness of their responsibilities for the quality of investigative documentation; and to CFNIS investigators to ensure they are aware of best practices and evidentiary requirements when preparing documents; and
- training and refresher programs should be mandatory for all new military police investigators and for more experienced investigators to ensure skills are current; and the ability of investigators to meet course training standards should be documented on file.
The two other complaints pertaining to the DPM PS investigation and report involved multiple allegations generally concerning scope, completeness, objectivity and supervision. For example, it was alleged the DPM PS failed to effectively monitor and supervise the PS investigation; and the DPM PS investigation failed to interview CFNIS personnel including the primary investigator.
The Commission found some of these allegations were substantiated. For example, the Commission found that the DPM PS investigation was deficient in failing to interview personnel who supervised the CFNIS investigation.
- direction should be provided to DPM PS investigators to clarify that complaint investigations can and should probe factors contextual to subject members’ conduct, including the role of supervisory personnel and other contributing systemic factors; and
- DPM PS policies and procedures should be reviewed and revised, as necessary, to provide for a systematized approach to complaint investigations consistent with relevant principles of police major case management.
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