Thursday, August 27, 1992

Andrew Duffy

p. A1.

Junger deal wrong, probe finds

Metro police made a serious mistake in signing an agreement that allowed former constable Gordon Junger to resign after it was alleged he ran an escort service, a provincial inquiry has found.

In a report to be released today, the inquiry panel concludes the agreement -- a deal the police described as a "con job" -- was a serious error, sources said.

Others have hinted the report will strongly criticize the inaction of the police services board, then headed by June Rowlands, now Toronto's mayor.

Junger, a nine-year police officer, signed the resignation deal on Jan. 19, 1990, amid allegations he was a male prostitute and co-owner of an escort service.

The report "will have an impact on the conduct of internal police investigations -- and not just in Metro," said Douglas Drinkwalter, chairman of the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services. "The report deals with the responsibility of the board as well as responsibility of the chief in dealing with internal investigations."

More than 20 recommendations were expected to be made by the inquiry panel, which will also require the Metro force to report back to the commission within six month.

Publication of the report brings to an end the two-year commission inquiry that cost taxpayers about $1 million.

Toronto lawyer Frank D'Andrea was chairperson of the inquiry and co-author of the report along with Justice of the Peace Jean Beauprie and law professor Julio Menezes.

Deal with Junger serious error, probe finds

Much of the testimony they heard centred on the two-page resignation agreement. The document was inked by Junger and internal affairs Detective Sergeant Neil Shannon, who signed "as per the chief."

The Junger affair had remained under wraps until April, 1990, when The Star revealed the officer's involvement in an escort service. The article also raised the possibility of a deal.

On its face, the agreement bound police to see that a crown attorney withdrew a narcotics possession charge against Junger. It also seemed to bind police to destroying evidence related to his "business and personal dealings" with call girl Roma Langford.

Junger's dealings with Langford included the operation of an escort service, an enterprise that led to his arrest for living off the avails of prostitution in a police "sting" operation.

He was, however, never formally charged with a prostitution-related offence. Instead, internal affairs investigators used the evidence they had collected -- including a sting operation videotape -- to prepare internal discipline charges against Junger.

Lawyers at the inquiry clashed over the meaning of the agreement, which also included a clause that required the deal to be kept confidential.

Commission counsel Graydon Sheppard concluded the agreement tied the hands of police limiting their ability to pursue a criminal prosecution of Junger.

"Astonishingly, the force justifies those provisions by arguing that they were inserted to con Junger into resigning and that... the parties had no intention of destroying any evidence," Sheppard wrote.

"It is difficult to imagine conduct which is more likely to bring discredit upon the reputation of the police force."

D'Andrea asked Chief William McCormack whether he could tolerate the position taken by senior officers, who admitted to conning Junger, signing a deal they didn't intend to honor. D'Andrea suggested the entire criminal justice system could be called into question if their action was condoned.

"Yes, I see your point," the chief responded, "and I totally agree that type of promise should not be made."

In his submission, counsel for the Metro Police Services Board, Richard Shibley, concluded: "The end never justifies the means."

Lawyers for the chief and internal affairs, Brian Greenspan and Eddie Greenspan respectively, defended the deal in their written arguments. Brian Greenspan said the deal was a well-meaning -- if flawed -- attempt to get rid of a bad officer.

Evidence at the inquiry revealed that the deal was approved by the chief because of a breakdown in communications.

Shannon called his boss to seek approval of the deal. He wasn't there. Another officer took Shannon's request. He then passed on the request to another officer who took it to the chief.

As a result McCormack was told about the deal only in broad strokes: Junger wanted to resign in return for an assurance that police would not pursue charges against him.

The chief knew that evidence related to criminal charges against Junger had evaporated since the key witness, Langford, had retracted her initial statement.

McCormack understood the deal to mean Junger would resign in return for the force not pursuing discipline charges in the case, Greenspan said. "It should be emphasized that the evidence before this inquiry is uncontroverted that Chief McCormack was unaware of the specific terms of the agreement," Greenspan said.

When McCormack finally saw the agreement, in mid-March, 1990, he issued an order saying all similar deals have to be vetoed by the force's lawyer.

According to McCormack, he subsequently showed Rowlands (then chairperson of the police services board) a copy of the agreement.

Rowlands, however, has maintained she did not see a copy of the agreement until she met with investigators from the police commission month later. Rowlands said the chief seemed unwilling to show her the agreement. 'I don't know how I got that impression, but it was a very clear impression," she testified.

Board members decided not to press the chief to provide a copy of the document at that time because they felt it was more appropriate to examine the issues it raised, Rowlands said. Since then, the police force and the board have introduced a number of reforms in response to the Junger affair, including:

  • The creation of a professional standards committee to review internal investigations.

  • An order directing officers to keep complainants informed about an investigation's progress, including the date of the officer's discipline hearing.

  • A new agreement with public complaints commissioner Clare Lewis about what kind of internal affairs files should be monitored by his office.

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