Fynes Public Interest Hearing
Ottawa, March 10, 2015 – The Military Police Complaints Commission has made 46 recommendations to improve the quality of Military policing in Canada in its Final Report in the Fynes Public Interest Hearing into events surrounding the death of Cpl Stuart Langridge.
Cpl Langridge committed suicide at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton on March 15, 2008. His parents, Sheila and Shaun Fynes, filed a formal complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission in January 2011 about investigations into matters related to his death conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigations Service (CFNIS).
“The Commission found significant deficiencies in the investigations conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service and unacceptable errors in the way the Military Police interacted with the Fynes, particularly in the mishandling of Cpl Langridge’s suicide note,” said Glenn Stannard, Chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission.
The Commission has made specific recommendations to deal with these deficiencies but the Military Police has either rejected or failed to respond to all but a few. It has directly rejected recommendations based on the Commission’s assessment that the Military Police does not have adequate experience in Sudden Death investigations to justify having MP members acting as lead investigators.
The Commission has found that all of the allegations of bias and lack of independence made in the Complaint were unsubstantiated. The Commission has nevertheless made recommendations to strengthen Military Police independence and to improve the Military Police’s ability to demonstrate its independence.
The Commission has also made recommendations that would ensure that:
- CFNIS investigations involving complex facts or allegations are actively supervised;
- CFNIS policies are revised so there is greater clarity on the release of suicide notes found at the scene of a suicide or in the course of a sudden death investigation;
- Procedures and policies are put in place to ensure that briefings for families at the end of sudden death investigations contain meaningful and substantive information that addresses the main points of the investigation and answers the family’s questions.
On March 4, the Commission applied to the Federal Court of Canada for Judicial Review of a policy initiative by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM), the head of the Military Police, to block publication of the Notice of Action, the CFPM’s formal response to the Commission Interim Report.
On Friday, March 6, 2015, the CFPM informed the Commission that in this specific case it would remove the security designation blocking publication of the Notice of Action as of the date of the release of the Report. However, the CFPM’s policy position did not change. The CFPM continues to affirm its right to control whether, how and when Notices of Action may be included in the Commission’s Final Reports.
“The Commission is concerned that the Military Police has failed to respond to key recommendations in the Report and has tried to prevent publication of the Notice of Action,” said Stannard. “I see these actions as challenges to the role of the Military Police Complaints Commission to provide meaningful oversight and ensure accountability,” he said. “The latest position taken by the CFPM is still based on an unacceptable view that the CFPM is entitled to control what the Commission can and cannot do with the Notice of Action,” he added.
The Commission will continue with its Judicial Review Application in Federal Court to challenge this policy.
The Military Police Complaints Commission was established in 1999 by the Government of Canada to provide independent civilian oversight of the Canadian Forces Military Police. By reviewing and investigating complaints concerning Military Police conduct and by investigating allegations of interference in investigations, it promotes and ensures the highest standards of Military Police conduct and provides for greater public accountability by the Military Police and the Chain of Command.
- Full text of the Commission’s Final Report on the Fynes Public Interest hearing
- Canadian Forces Provost Marshal Notice of Action (.pdf version)
- Section 7.1 The Notice of Action (.pdf version)
- Chair Glenn Stannard’s Speaking Notes at News Conference, March 10, 2015
- Backgrounder on Fynes Public Interest hearing
For information, please contact:
Military Police Complaints Commission
Fynes Public Interest Hearing
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