Saturday, February 27, 1993

Joseph Hall

p. A6.

Private censure of chief criticized

Metro's police services board has violated the spirit of last year's scathing Junger-Whitehead report on wrongdoings within the force by disciplining Chief William McCormack behind closed doors, one of the document's authors says.

Toronto lawyer Frank D'Andrea, co-author of last August's report on mismanagement of the police discipline process, says he had urged public openness and accountability throughout the entire process.

"The spirit and intent of the report suggested that the (disciplinary) process should be more open," D'Andrea said yesterday. "That doesn't seem to have meant much," he said.

The board informally disciplined McCormack Thursday when it officially "counselled" the chief during a two-hour closed door meeting.

McCormack later read a statement accepting responsibility for mistakes made during internal probes of two officers.

Last August a provincial inquiry with D'Andrea as chairperson issued a scathing report, known as the Junger-Whitehead report, that denounced the handling of internal investigations.

It accused the force of placing expediency ahead of principle in signing a deal that purported to destroy evidence in return for an officer's quiet resignation.

D'Andrea also said yesterday that the public could not know whether the board's decision to simply counsel McCormack was appropriate punishment because it hadn't defined precisely what he was being counselled for.

"If you don't know what the charge is, what do you learn from the sentence?" he said. "You have to be able to juxtapose the sentence with the offence."

In April, 1990, The Star revealed that Gordon Junger, 31, a nine-year police veteran, signed a deal with police that purported to drop criminal charges in return for his resignation. He was accused of running an escort service and being in possession of hashish.

In the second case, a former prostitute complained to internal affairs in 1989 that Sergeant Brian Whitehead extorted sexual favors from her by threatening her with arrest. After an internal investigation, Whitehead pleaded guilty to Police Act charges and was demoted to constable.

In last year's toughly worded report, a three-member inquiry panel denounced the force's handling of the Junger affair. They said Metro police demonstrated "a tremendous lack of integrity" by signing the secret deal with Junger, then saying they wouldn't abide by its terms, the report said.

The report also contained strong criticism of the work of the police services board.

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

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