1991: Public Complaints Files

Listing last updated: November 14, 1998

The issue of the complaints files during the Junger/Whitehead Inquiry was separate, but no less important then the other two cases. All three brought to light irregularities in the handling of such cases.

Complaints Files are reviewed by the Public Complaints Commission, set up in 1981, to review disputes involving police misconduct. The Public Complaints Commission is an independent body. By law police are required to pass on all public complaints of misconduct by officers.

This Inquiry brought to light that routinely complaints were withheld from the commission, reaching back as far as 1985. Plenty of excuses were cited by the police force why files were not handed over. The attitude of the police force was that of total unwillingness, even after plenty of discussion during the inquiry. It was argued, that to reopen the files at this point (1991) was highly controversial and would require special procedures.

The content of the complaints files was also of interest to the two lawyers in this inquiry. Constable Gordon Junger had claimed that other officers had gotten away with much worse conduct and were still on the force, consequently he felt, that in his case, he had been treated unfairly. Peter Rosenthal, Junger's lawyer demanded to see the files to establish this fact.

The three-member panel of this inquiry, headed by Frank D'Andrea, decided to seal all complaints files. This ruling is a very unsatisfactory outcome for the public and doesn't inspire much confidence for complaints made by the public in the future.

-- K. Reich

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Created: September 15, 1998
Last modified: August 16, 1999

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