Thursday, May 24, 1990

Alan Story

p. A1.

Public inquiry launched into Metro police force

A public inquiry has been set up to find out if the Metro police force properly investigated wrongdoing by its own officers, including a constable who ran a sex-for-pay escort agency.

"We have some very serious concerns about some aspects of the way in which the Metro force is run," Frank D'Andrea, a lawyer and member of the Ontario Police Commission that set up the probe, told reporters yesterday.

The public hearing will focus on the operations of the department's internal affairs unit -- a type of police force within a police force -- which conducts internal investigations of alleged police misconduct.

It will also probe a deal made with former constable Gordon Junger, who ran an escort service with former call girl, that no Police Act charges would be laid and that all evidence in the escort services case would be destroyed.

The inquiry is the first established by the provincial watchdog agency since 1985. The commission will announce in about four weeks when the public hearings will begin and what format it will take.

While the inquiry's precise mandate is unclear, D'Andrea said it is "quite possible" the wide-ranging hearings will examine recent cases in which several Metro police officers have shot and either seriously wounded or killed black civilians.

Probe to study internal police affairs

The role of the Metro Police Commission, which was told of the deal with Junger before he left the force, is also expected to come under scrutiny. Junger, 29, resigned March 1, one day after drug possession charges were withdrawn in court.

Junger and the former call girl were jointly operating the sex-for-pay agency last fall. The former prostitute who turned in Junger also told Internal affairs investigators in early December that two other male police officers worked for the agency after hours. Chief William McCormack has denied any other officers were involved.

The operation of the escort service and the deal signed by Junger were first revealed by The Star in early April.

Junger had not heard about the Inquiry when contacted last night by The Star. After listening as the press release from the commission was read to him over the telephone, he told The Star's Don Dutton: "I have no problem with that, but under the advise of my lawyer I'm really going to have to withhold comment." He said he might comment further if he is able to contact his lawyer today.

Told of the public inquiry's formation, the former call girl, who is eight months pregnant, said: "I'm happy. I'm overwhelmed. Finally there may be some justice in this case."

McCormack, who said earlier the Junger investigation was thorough, said yesterday he was "delighted to comply with the decision" to conduct an inquiry.

June Rowlands, who heads the Metro Police Commission, also said the commission will co-operate fully with the provincial inquiry. The Metro commission has said there was nothing wrong with the way the Junger case was handled. "Our information from the chief and from internal was that everything was in order," Rowlands said.

Last week, the Metro commission set up its own two-member task force to examine internal affairs operations.

Lawyer Susan Eng, another police commissioner, welcomed the calling of the inquiry. "Our Metro commission has tended to avoid difficult issues" and "perhaps the OPC (Ontario Police Commission) will point out that we ought to be doing more" to monitor the activities of police, Eng said yesterday.

The six-member Ontario Police Commission is a quasi-judicial agency operating under the authority of the Police Act and is responsible for overseeing all municipal and provincial police forces.

The most recent Ontario Police commission inquiry, in 1985, investigated allegations of misconduct by the chief of the Strathroy police department.

Yesterday, D'Andrea stressed the inquiry will examine all aspects of investigations -- from the filing of an initial complaint to the final disposition -- conducted by the Metro force's eight-member internal affairs section.

Other investigations, besides the Junger case, and other "deals" made by the Metro force under the current chief and former chiefs, may also be examined. D'Andrea provided no details of other cases.

Among the issues in the Junger case that the inquiry may investigate, he said, are:

  • All aspects of the written deal Junger made with the force to resign.

  • Whether the force should have agreed to destroy evidence related to the Junger case.

  • Whether criminal charges should have been laid after allegations that Junger had used the internal police computer system.

  • Whether a crown prosecutor should have been consulted to determine if Junger should have been charged with any prostitution-related offences.

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Created: February 14, 1999
Last modified: February 14, 1999

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