This complaint relates to a Military Police (MP) investigation into two alleged incidents of sexual assault by the complainant’s former superiors while she was a Canadian Forces (CF) member. The alleged incidents would have occurred in the first half of 2009 while the complainant served as part of the crew on a naval vessel. The complainant was released from the military in June 2012.
The MP investigation file remained open from August 2012 to February 2013. During this period, a video recorded interview with the complainant was done and written statements from her were taken. The subject MP investigator also obtained (with some difficulty) a copy of the file on the complainant’s 2011 harassment complaint, where she had initially raised these incidents. The CF body responsible for harassment complaints had found her complaints to be unsubstantiated.
On the basis of the complainant’s statements to the MPs as well as the 2011 harassment complaint file, which included previous MP assessments by both the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) and the local MP unit (the same one to which the MP subject belonged), the subject MP investigator concluded no further MP action was necessary as the allegations had already been addressed by the chain of command through the CF harassment complaint process and the elements of the offence of sexual assault or assault were not present.
The complainant took issue with the subject MP investigator’s conclusions and his failure to conduct a more extensive investigation of her allegations.
Following its review and investigation of the complaint, the MPCC concluded the allegation was substantiated in part. In the MPCC’s view, the subject MP investigator should have conducted a more thorough investigation into the allegations before concluding the investigations for the reasons he indicated. The harassment complaint file was not a proper basis for concluding the MP investigation. Specifically, neither the previous MP assessments nor the purported deficiencies in the complainant’s evidence were adequate reasons to terminate the investigation. In the MPCC’s view, the subject MP would have needed to conduct further witness interviews in order to conclude the file as he did. While other factors relevant to the exercise of policing discretion might be seen as militating against conducting a full investigation of the complainant’s allegations, these factors did not diminish the elements of the offence, the establishment or exclusion of which could only have been achieved with further witness interviews.
However, as the MPCC determined through its own investigation that the witnesses put forward by the complainant could not corroborate her allegations, the MPCC did not recommend the MP investigation be re-opened.
The MPCC did, however, recommend the subject MP receive further appropriate training on the deficiencies identified in this report and that MP policies on the opening of General Occurrence files be clarified to ensure such files are opened when MPs are consulted in the course of administrative investigations, such as the harassment complaint process.
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