Corrupt Justice In Canada

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Scandals since 2006


RCMP scandals and setbacks since 2006
Globe and Mail Update
Published Thursday, Mar. 29, 2007 12:39PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009 10:28PM EDT

• January 2006: Former B.C. Mountie Gary Stevens is sentenced to 18 months in jail for sexually assaulting two teenage girls while off duty. Mr. Stevens pleaded guilty to attacking a girl in Vancouver in the early 1990s, and a girl in Terrace in 2004. He retired from the Kitimat detachment after he was charged.

• January 2006: Former RCMP Const. Nancy Sulz wins a $950,000 lawsuit for long-term harassment she suffered under her former detachment commander at the Merritt, B.C. detachment.

• February 2006: B.C. Crown prosecutors announce they won't lay charges against the RCMP constable who shot and killed Kevin St. Arnaud. The 29-year-old welder was killed Dec. 19, 2004, after a bungled robbery attempt of a local pharmacy. He was highly intoxicated at the time. Const. Ryan Sheremetta, a Vanderhoof RCMP officer in his mid-20s who at the time of the shooting had about two years experience, had reasonable grounds to believe he needed to use deadly force to protect himself from Mr. St. Arnaud, officials said. Family members maintain there's no way that Mr. St. Arnaud, unarmed and so drunk he could barely stand, could have meaningfully threatened Const. Sheremetta. After a year of waiting for the investigation to conclude, the news was “like a kick in the teeth,” Mr. St. Arnaud's mother, Dolores Young, said.

• May 2006: After a seven-month fight to clear his name, Ontario finance minister Greg Sorbara is vindicated when a Superior Court judge rules that the RCMP did not have enough evidence to accuse him of criminal wrongdoing in an ongoing criminal investigation into Royal Group Technologies Inc. Mr. Sorbara became swept up in the Royal Group case as a former director of the Woodbridge, Ont., building-products company and chairman of its audit committee. He resigned from the board in 2003 when he was sworn into cabinet. The RCMP named Mr. Sorbara in the search warrants over two property deals in the mid-1990s between Royal Group and Sorbara Group, his family's private company. In a blistering condemnation, Judge Nordheimer accused the RCMP of not doing enough investigative work before seeking the search warrants, and of tainting certain transactions to bolster their case before the judge who signed the warrants. “I am left with the nagging concern that the application for a search warrant, at least as it related to [Mr. Sorbara], was very much premature,” Judge Nordheimer said. The judge also said the RCMP provided no evidence to back up their description of the two property deals as unusual.

• July 2006: Two young officers are killed during a police chase and shoot-out in northern Saskatchewan. The RCMP says little about the deaths of constables Marc Bourdages and Robin Cameron, and the attempted murder of a third Mountie. The agency refuses repeated requests for a timeline of events July 7, but corrects earlier statements about the time of the shooting after the Globe and Mail reports the service didn't summon an ambulance until an hour after the officers were shot. The time of the shooting is revised without explanation from about 9:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

• September 2006: Crown prosecutors decide no criminal charges will be laid in the controversial shooting death of a B.C. sawmill worker by a rookie RCMP constable during a jailhouse altercation. The death of 22-year-old Ian Bush in October, 2005, after his arrest over a minor incident involving an opened beer can at the local hockey rink, caused a furor in the tightly knit community of Houston, 300 kilometres west of Prince George. Many, particularly Mr. Bush's family, questioned the manner in which police investigated his death, the scant information provided to the family and the length of time taken by RCMP investigators. They also wondered how an event as insignificant as having an open beer and then giving a wrong name to police could have escalated into a confrontation ending 20 minutes later with Mr. Bush fatally shot. However, the province's Criminal Justice Branch yesterday said that the evidence supports the police officer's assertion that he acted in self-defence. B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal, who personally reviewed the file on Mr. Bush's death, said he is “in thorough agreement” with the decision not to lay charges.

• September 2006: The government promises an overhaul of the RCMP after a devastating inquiry report finds the federal police passed along erroneous and damaging intelligence to the U.S. about Maher Arar. “The RCMP provided American authorities with information about Mr. Arar that was inaccurate, portrayed him in a negative fashion and overstated his importance in the RCMP investigation,” Mr. Justice Dennis O'Connor said in his 822-page report. He said that when RCMP officers gave information to the United States, it increased “the risk that the information would be used for the purposes of which the RCMP would not approve, such as sending Mr. Arar to Syria.” Among his findings: - the RCMP provided inaccurate information to American authorities about Mr. Arar and his wife, Monia Mazigh, characterizing them as Islamic extremists with suspected links to al-Qaeda - the complete RCMP database on Mr. Arar was given to the Americans without the information having been screened for relevance or accuracy. The RCMP failed to give its main investigative unit — Project A-O Canada — clear direction on how to share information with U.S. authorities. Information was shared without important caveats on how it can and cannot be used, breaching RCMP policy - the U.S. government almost certainly detained and removed Mr. Arar to Syria by relying on inaccurate information about him provided by the RCMP - the RCMP, acting through the Canadian ambassador, sent Syria questions for Abdullah Almalki, another Canadian in Syrian custody. The action probably signalled to the Syrians that the RCMP approved of Mr. Almalki's imprisonment and, by extension, Mr. Arar's imprisonment - the RCMP omitted key facts when briefing senior government bureaucrats after Mr. Arar's release. For example, it failed to tell Privy Council officials that it gave information to the U.S. without attaching written caveats. It also failed to reveal that the RCMP had supplied its entire database to U.S. agencies • September 2006: RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli apologizes to Mr. Arar and his family, but he also tells the House public safety and security committee that the mistakes his Mounties made in the Arar security case do not require him to resign. He says several times that Mounties corrected the record with U.S. authorities while Mr. Arar was still in U.S. custody in New York. Days later, Mr. Zaccardelli offers a new account of when he discovered his force had passed erroneous information about Mr. Arar to U.S. authorities. “Senior officials, including myself, were not informed until the inquiry completed its works,” he says in an address to the Canadian Club of Ottawa. Mr. Zaccardelli says he “made a mistake” in his earlier testimony.
• October 2006: Ontario Superior Court Judge Lynn Ratushny strikes down a federal official secrets law, saying that the RCMP tried to use it to intimidate an Ottawa journalist into revealing who had leaked her material in the Maher Arar affair. In the landmark ruling, Justice Ratushny concluded that so-called anti-leakage provisions in the Security and Information Act are unacceptably broad, vague and wide open to abuse by authorities who would seek to chill diligent journalism. Hurriedly enacted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the anti-leakage provisions were used by the RCMP in 2004 to seize documents from the home and office of Ottawa Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill, after articles she wrote caused the Mounties to suspect that she was receiving leaked material. Judge Ratushny ordered that the documents be returned.
• October 2006: The case against a Prince George RCMP officer accused of having sex with underage prostitutes is thrown out by an internal disciplinary tribunal — comprised of three RCMP officers from out of province — because the force failed to bring allegations against the constable in a timely fashion. Const. Justin Harris was one of nine officers in Prince George named in investigative reports alleging links to underage prostitutes. A subsequent investigation led to the conviction of a provincial court judge. Constable Harris, however, was the only officer to face a disciplinary hearing and notified of the case against him in September, 2004. Under the RCMP Act, however, a commanding officer must launch a disciplinary hearing within one year of becoming aware of an officer's alleged misconduct. Senior members of the force in Prince George were aware in 2002 of the allegations against Const. Harris, who was not criminally charged and has maintained his innocence since the allegations against him first surfaced. In testimony before the tribunal, Const. Harris was accused of hitting a teenaged prostitute when she refused to perform oral sex on him because he didn't want to wear a condom. Another teenaged prostitute told an investigating officer Const. Harris was “drunk and aggressive” on the two occasions she had sex with him.
• October 2006: The B.C. Supreme Court hears that RCMP investigators taped a telephone conversation between Premier Gordon Campbell and his then-minister of finance, Gary Collins, during an investigation that led to an unprecedented police raid on the British Columbia Legislature in 2003. Four months later, a wide-ranging application for disclosure is filed by lawyers representing three accused in the raids which alleged the RCMP were not forthright with a judge when requesting permission to wiretap government phones after failing to get similar warrants twice before.
• November 2006: Saskatchewan RCMP Constable Thierry Jacques is sentenced to three years in jail for sexually assaulting a female prisoner while she was in custody. A judge found him guilty of taking the 26-year-old woman from her cell and sexually assaulting her in the garage at the La Ronge RCMP detachment on Sept. 4, 2004.
• November 2006: Auditor-General Sheila Fraser says the administration of the RCMP's pension fund was characterized by nepotism and favouritism in the early 2000s, resulting in the awarding of $1.3-million in wasteful contracts. But because too much time has elapsed, no one in the police force will face sanction over the abuses, Ms. Fraser adds, noting the government has only one year to discipline officials under the RCMP Act, even though audits and investigations often take longer to be completed.
The Auditor-General's report said 49 people who worked on a modernization of the RCMP pension fund in the early 2000s were hired through family and friendship connections, receiving “double the standard rate of pay” at an extra cost of $220,000.
• December 2006: Mr. Zaccardelli becomes the first commissioner in the history of the RCMP to be forced out under a cloud of controversy. He is forced to resign after his admission that he had misled a parliamentary committee on his involvement in the case of Mr. Arar, saying he had “made a mistake” in that testimony and he did not know that Mounties did not try to correct the record with the Americans at the time.
• February 2007: The RCMP lays a criminal charge against a senior Finance Canada bureaucrat after a 14-month probe into whether the former Liberal government's plans for income trusts were leaked to markets ahead of time. But the lengthy investigation, news of which likely helped defeat the Liberals in the last federal election, yielded no charges against politicians or staffers in the former governing party. The RCMP came under criticism for announcing the probe four weeks into the campaign, but insisted it was merely doing its job and not interfering in the political process. But the New Democrats and Harper Conservatives seized on it as proof that the Liberals were corrupt and deserved to be defeated in the Jan. 23, 2006, ballot.

• March 2007: The families of four Alberta Mounties killed in Mayerthorpe March 3, 2005, say they are increasingly frustrated by the wait for answers about what went wrong. The RCMP has yet to complete its internal criminal investigation, which has in turn delayed the launch of any public inquiries into the tragedy. “I would hope that by doing what they're doing they are turning over every piece of gravel, every blade of grass,” said Grace Johnston, whose son, Constable Leo Johnston, was one of the officers gunned down near Mayerthorpe, 130 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. “I would hope they're not just dragging it out for political reasons.” Constables Anthony Gordon, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann were also killed on March 3, 2005, when Mr. Roszko, a 46-year-old with a history of violence, ambushed all four inside a Quonset hut on his property, which was being investigated for a marijuana grow-op and stolen-vehicle-parts operation. After shooting the policemen, he killed himself. The RCMP, which was almost immediately criticized for contributing to the deaths, is once again being questioned about how well it can investigate itself. “They did no proper risk assessment, and this was a case of negligent supervision,” a former Mountie tells the Globe and Mail. “It is now two years after the fact and there has been no independent investigation and accounting, and never will be.”

• March 2007: The Commons public safety committee considers probing the witness protection program and the case of Agent E8060 — a paid RCMP informant who manufactured evidence, became a protected witness and then committed a heinous killing under his new identity. A story published by The Globe and Mail and the Ottawa Citizen reports that Richard Young, an unemployed man from Victoria, B.C., was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for information about a crime that he concocted. His evidence was called a “cruel charade” by British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Dean Wilson. Despite the exposure of his lies, Mr. Young was placed in the federal witness protection program and, under his new identity, he was convicted of killing someone. It is a criminal offence under the Witness Protection Program Act to disclose anything about Mr. Young's new identity or who he killed. Even the victim's family cannot be told the truth.

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