Wednesday, September 2, 1992

Rosie DiManno

It's time for change in policing police

"There has to be a lot more acceptance of our criticism before the parties involved can appropriately move to taking full advantage of the recommendations that were made."

This is a measured, circumspect and altogether lawyerly observation from a man who is, well, a measured and circumspect lawyer.

But a man can speak softly when he carries a big stick. And Frank D'Andrea's big stick is the recently published report of a public inquiry into the administration of the Metro police internal affairs unit. He was the chairman of the three-member panel that conducted the exhaustive inquiry and produced the report.

The object of the exercise was clear and concise: to study the "policies, practices and procedures" of the force's internal affairs department, particularly in relation to the "resignation" of policeman/prostitute Gord Junger. The 24 recommendations which the panel offered were also clear and concise.

Actually, offered is not the right term. The panel directs the parties involved as to what they should do to ensure the mistakes and shortcuts that came to light in the inquiry will never be repeated. Furthermore, the report compels the Metro Police Services Board to come back within six month to explain what actions they have taken in response to the inquiry's findings.

This is tough stuff. This is stuff with teeth - some might even say fangs. In the past week, there has been all manner of reaction to the report's explosive conclusions, not the least its no-punches-pulled description of the secret deal between police and Junger as "reprehensible," the police services board's reaction to the whole fiasco as "woefully inadequate" and the testimony of the internal investigators as "smug."

From his law offices on Eglington Ave. W. D'Andrea has watched and listened, sometimes in dismay, to the rationalizations of Chief William McCormack, the spluttering denouncements of Toronto Mayor June Rowlands and the curious murmurings of services board chair Susan Eng.

McCormack has stated on several occasions that 17 of the report's 24 recommendations have either already been implemented in whole or in part, or were under review. This comes as a surprise to D'Andrea, who's not sure what the chief is talking about, especially since McCormack has declined to specify which 17 recommendations he has in mind. He is not aware of any substantive changes to the internal affairs status quo.

"The chief may be referring to the professional standards review committee (a new body within the Metro force which has been established, in part, to review investigation of all criminal allegations against its members). But you'll note that we've said to scrap the doggone thing. We think it's just another layer and we don't think it's workable."

This response, D'Andrea suggests, is as inadequate as the conclusions of the police services board's own post-Junger task force: that any agreement made in the future between the force and officers facing discipline be vetted by a services board lawyer. "We're going one step beyond that. We're saying no agreements. So there's nothing to vet. If there is evidence upon which charges could be laid, then lay the charges. And, once laid, dispose of the trial within 60 days.

D'Andrea, in his conciliatory way, suggests that McCormack must have been tired and unfamiliar with the report when he called his news conference last Friday. "Perhaps, with time, when he fully digests the contents of the report, his response will be different. It's well and good to say we should never entered into the agreement. But you have to go beyond that. You have to look at what was being agreed to. And that's what causes the difficulty.

"Now I'm hearing that some people have denied it was even a secret agreement. By its very terms it was required to be kept confidential and its contents were not to be divulged to anyone. God, if that's not a secret deal then I don't know what is. And a commitment to destroy evidence, whether it was intended to be executed or not, ought not to have been agreed to. A commitment not to lay charges as a result of an investigation is a pretty far-sweeping commitment. "That is not a procedural mistake."

D'Andrea stops, lights another cigarette, works it out in his head before he continues. "The chief came the closest to it (of all the main parties involved) but the kind of response that I expected was this: "I acknowledge that there were deficiencies and I will be considering the report as fully as I am capable. I will be receiving advise on it. And we will be implementing each and every recommendation that hasn't been implemented so far. End of discussion. "That's what I would have expected and what I think it would have been prudent to have done."

But it is with Rowlands, the board chair at the time of the Junger shenanigans, that D'Andrea takes the most exception. Rowlands has obstinately refused to accept any responsibility for what transpired. In fact, she has, dismissed the report as "second-guessing."

"That couldn't be further from the truth," says D'Andrea. "We were extremely careful to ensure that our conclusions were supportable by evidence. We can't be faulted for that. There is factual basis for each and every one of our final recommendations. I've heard no one, except Ms. Rowlands, take exception to our factual contents. This process was not about second-guessing. And bear in mind that the Metro board was represented by one of the best lawyers in the country, Richard Shipley. He sat there each and every day and he heard the evidence. And as a result of the evidence, he made certain submissions to us.

"I would encourage Ms. Rowlands to read her own counsel's submission, a lot of which is four-square with what our recommendations are all about."

D'Andrea says he still has not received any adequate explanation from Rowlands, or the board, as to why no one ever asked to see a copy of the Junger agreement once the story broke in The Star in the spring of 1990.

Rowlands testified before us that she didn't ask the chief for a copy because she didn't think he'd give it to her. His response was, "I didn't give it because no one asked me for it."

"And therein lies the whole rub of this conflict. Someone didn't ask, someone didn't give."

Now, more than two years later, D'Andrea's report is not only asking but demanding that changes be made. And something had better give.

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Created: December 1, 1998
Last modified: December 1, 1998

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