Conduct Case MPCC‑2016‑038 Summary
The complainant attended at a Military Police Unit to report that she had been a victim of a number of assaults while she was in the military. During a voluntary interview, the complainant verbally provided a number of examples of alleged assaults and furnished a number of documents intended to support her allegations. Given the serious nature of some of her allegations, responsibility for the investigation was assumed by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS).
Ultimately, having found no corroborating evidence and having sought further legal advice, the CFNIS investigators concluded their investigation and informed the complainant that, absent any additional information, they could advance the investigation no further, but if more information came to light, the file could be reopened. The complainant was dissatisfied with this outcome and brought her complaint to the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) as a result.
The MPCC referred the complaint to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) for an initial review and disposition. The Professional Standards (PS) office of the CFPM sought particulars from the complainant but none were forthcoming. Ultimately, PS wrote to the complainant indicating that in the absence of any specific allegations against any Military Police member, the review of her complaint did not identify any evidence of misconduct on the part of any Military Police member.
The complainant then referred her complaint to the MPCC for review. The MPCC identified two subjects in the conduct complaint who were the CFNIS investigators assigned to look into the complainant’s allegations of assault. There were three allegations made against each investigator. These allegations referred to an alleged lack of a thorough investigation into a number of allegations of assault and sexual assault.
Upon receipt of the complainant’s request for review, the MPCC requested disclosure of all relevant Military Police file materials from the CFPM. Following an initial assessment of the complaint, the assigned investigators conducted a detailed review of the materials received from the CFPM in order to assess whether the MPCC needed to take additional investigative steps.
The MPCC determined that an investigation was necessary, including interviews of the complainant and the two subject members. At the conclusion of its investigation, the MPCC found that the subject members’ exercise of discretion to either not investigate certain allegations or not lay charges in others was reasonable. The evidence gathered by the CFNIS investigators was not sufficient to justify a criminal prosecution. The reasonableness of the decision not to pursue these allegations was bolstered by the fact that any prosecution would be a very difficult one given the length of time that had passed before the alleged assaults were reported to the police.
The MPCC made one recommendation which concerns the need for training to emphasize the importance of noting the reasons why an investigation was or was not pursued.
The MPCC also made one observation. In this file, PS made a number of requests of the complainant to provide particulars of the complaint, claiming that there were no specific allegations made against any Military Police member. While there is no difficulty in asking for details when a complaint is considered vague, the MPCC observed that PS used the complainant’s failure to provide particulars as a reason to not deal with the complaint at all.
In response to the MPCC’s Report, the CFPM accepted the MPCC’s findings as well as the recommendation.
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