THE ONTARIO CIVILIAN COMMISSION ON POLICE SERVICES|
Report on an inquiry into administration of internal investigations by the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force
The Junger AgreementThe resignation agreement with (former) Constable Gordon Junger was the issue which prompted the holding of this inquiry and is central to the recommendations and conclusions in this report. The agreement is reproduced in full at the end of this section.
The Metropolitan Toronto Police Force should not have entered into the agreement it did to obtain the resignation of Constable Junger.
The Inquiry heard a range of justifications from the force for the agreement, such as: it was worth it to get rid of a bad officer; there was no intention of complying with the terms anyway; the criminal case against Junger had fallen apart because the witness had changed her story; there was no hope of any other successful prosecutions; once he resigned, disciplinary charges were irrelevant; and it would have taken a long time to go through the disciplinary hearing process and would have cost the taxpayers a lot more to continue to pay Junger's salary on suspension until the case was resolved.
All of these excuses amount to the end justifying the means. They are totally unacceptable.
It is disturbing that the response of the Internal Affairs unit, which signed the agreement on behalf of the Chief, has been to continue to deny any error. The final written submission from Internal Affairs concluded that "the conduct of Internal Affairs was appropriate, just and fair." (p.3) The motive expressed by Internal Affairs witnesses -- their desire to secure the resignation of an officer they believed should be off the force -- may have been understandable, but their actions were wrong.
The smugness of Internal Affairs in finding itself to be totally without fault is likely in part the result of the fact that no one has been censured for conduct in connection with any aspect of the Junger matter. According to testimony, the closest the force came to admitting a problem was to indicate that the agreement should have been shown to a lawyer before it was signed. This sounds like a procedural error only. It ought to have been recognized that in substantive terms, there were serious problems with the agreement.
Terms of the AgreementWe cannot state too strongly our disapproval of the agreement in the terms expressed. The inquiry panel considers the agreement to have been highly improper in that it purported to provide, in exchange for the resignation of an officer, an undertaking to withdraw a criminal charge, a promise to lay no other charges, either criminal or disciplinary, a promise to destroy evidence, and a promise to keep the terms secret.
Withdrawal of the Narcotics ChargeThe parties to the agreement gave evidence that they were aware that the consent of the Crown was required for the withdrawal of the charge against Gordon Junger of possession of a narcotic pursuant to the Narcotic Control Act. They also used as justification for this clause in the agreement the fact that Roma Langford had retracted her statement.
The submission of Commission counsel (p. 19) fairly states the objection to this line of reasoning:
The objection is not that that condition [the requirement for consent to withdraw by the Crown] was not expressed, but that the force committed itself of obtaining the consent of the Crown Attorney in order to obtain Junger's resignation. As well, the efforts of the force to withdraw the charge did not take place until after the agreement was signed, even though the investigators were aware of the collapse of the credibility of their major witness a month before. Further, the agreement for Junger's resignation was used as a lever by S/Insp. Mahar in an effort to persuade the Crown to withdraw...
Promise Not to Lay ChargesThe agreement promised that "no Police Act or Criminal Code charges will be laid against Gordon Junger from or with respect to his relationship both personal and business with Franklina Langford." This undertaking was given in spite of the fact that evidence had been gathered on alleged Police Act offences.
In the period between Dec. 5, 1989 (the date of the "sting" and Junger's arrest) and Jan. 19, 1990 the date of the drawing up of the resignation agreement in the office of Junger's lawyer) no Police Act brief on the Junger matter was prepared and submitted to the Trials Preparation unit.
Since the criminal charge was a narcotics charge, the force was not prevented by provisions of the Metropolitan Toronto police officers' "Bill of Rights" from proceeding expeditiously with disciplinary charges related to a number of alleged offences -- accepting money for sex, the operation of the escort service, unauthorized use of the police computer (CPIC), and other offences alleged by Langford in her first meeting with Internal Affairs.
The "Bill of Rights for Police Officers", which is examined later in Section 8 of this report, required the force to postpone the hearing of disciplinary charges until after criminal proceedings were completed only in cases where the charges related to the same offence. In Junger's case, the alleged disciplinary offences were unrelated to the narcotics charge.
One of the justifications for signing the agreement was that it is expensive to keep paying a suspended officer pending resolution of the disciplinary process. This reasoning is hardly credible when the force made no discernible effort to proceed quickly with charges against Junger in the interval of more than a month between Junger's arrest and suspension, and the signing of the agreement.
In addition, Internal Affairs received information that Junger had breached his recognizance by associating with Langford. No action was taken to investigate or lay a charge. A breach of recognizance is an offence under the Criminal Code. Ignoring a breach of recognizance because it is a "domestic" can have serious consequences; it can put the other at risk and jeopardize a prosecution if the partner is a potential witness against the accused.
The police computer system, CPIC, is a Canada-wide network operated by the federal RCMP, containing highly confidential information; it is to be used only in the performance of an officer's duties. Although investigators had confirmed Junger's use of CPIC to check out names given to him by Roma Langford, no criminal or disciplinary charges were laid.
The principle with regard to this condition of the agreement is a crucial one. The force should not be substituting resignation agreements or other special arrangements for charges under the Police Services Act or the Criminal Code of Canada where there is evidence to prosecute.
Destruction of "Evidence"There is some debate about what was meant to be included in the destruction of evidence -- the videotape, the audio tapes, the narcotic or all three -- and whether these items should be considered "evidence" or "property". There is little to be gained from a discussion of what various people assumed was intended. The fact that the investigation except the officers' notes should have set off alarm bells for anyone who saw it.
Employment ReferencesWe also object to the provision of the agreement that undertook to provide a neutral, non-derogatory employment reference for Junger. In Junger's case, his personnel record listed resignation for "personal reasons". There was no reference to the resignation agreement in his personnel file.
Nothing in the Police Services Act prevents a police force from giving accurate information about an officer who resigns. Section 61 (7) permits taking allegations of misconduct or disciplinary hearings into account for employment-related purposes if misconduct is proved on clear and convincing evidence or if the police officer resigns before the matter is finally disposed of.
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act protects the privacy of personal files of officers employed by a municipal police force. However, a waiver may be obtained from the officer so that a police force considering hiring someone from another may have access to the applicant's previous employment record.
Police forces should not create false impressions by giving misleading personnel references to other police services when the force considers the individual to have proven him or herself to be unsuitable for the role of police officer.
SecrecyIt is unacceptable, though not surprising, that one of the terms of the agreement was that it be kept confidential. By doing a secret deal, the force sacrificed being able to point to this case as a warning and deterrent to other officers of the consequences of discreditable conduct. It also lost an opportunity to reassure the public that the force is determined to uncover wrongdoing by officers and prosecute to the full extent of the law.
Failure to Inform and to ActChief William McCormack testified that he was not fully aware of the details of the resignation agreement when he gave consent to it. The information he received about the agreement appears to have been second or third-hand. When he did see it, he was still not overly concerned because he believed that prosecution of the officer either in criminal court or a disciplinary hearing was not a viable option. He insisted that the agreement was not a "deal" because neither party got anything out of it.
But he was sufficiently worried about public criticism when he saw the agreement that he thought it best to keep the agreement confidential.
The Chief of Police should have been fully informed -- and should have ensured that he was fully informed -- of the details of the agreement before his signature was attached to it. Once the Chief became aware of the agreement, he should have repudiated it and taken it to the Police Services Board. Keeping the agreement confidential, especially from his own Board, was an inappropriate reaction.
The "Con"One aspect of the response of the Internal Affairs unit is particularly troubling. The Internal Affairs unit commander at the time, formerly Staff Inspector now Superintendent Aiden Mahar, told the inquiry that the agreement was a "con" because the force had no intention of complying with its terms.
We are not sure whether to believe the written terms of the agreement, which were negotiated with an officer of the court (counsel for Constable Junger), or to believe those who say now that the agreement was a sham.
Internal Affairs went to some effort to negotiate with Junger's lawyer for a May 1, 1990 date for the destruction of physical evidence. The explanation given at the time was that the unit wanted 90 days before destroying anything in case Junger changed his mind after resigning. Why would they have bothered if they did not mean to comply?
One can only speculate what might have happened if the agreement had not become public. Neither choice is palatable. We are unsure which is more reprehensible -- to enter into a secret contractual agreement which purports to destroy evidence and abandon charges in exchange for the resignation of an officer or to enter into a secret contractual agreement with no intention of complying with it.
We do not have to choose one option or the other. Either way, the actions of the force demonstrate lack of integrity. Those in charge of the Metropolitan Toronto force do not seem to realize the seriousness of this matter.
If a police force would act dishonorably to get rid of one of its own officers, can the public count on it to act honorably in cases involving civilians?
THE METROPOLITAN TORONTO POLICE FORCE
- and -
There exists an outstanding charge pursuant to the Narcotic Control Act as against Gordon Junger;
Charges pursuant to the Police Act are contemplated;
NOW THEREFORE THIS AGREEMENT WITNESSES that the parties hereto agree as follows:
Gordon Junger agrees not to file a grievance with respect to his resignation;
That the outstanding charges of possession of a narcotic pursuant to the Narcotic Control Act be withdrawn;
That the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force will not provide to any person a derogatory letter of reference, if requested by a third party, and further, that the official position of the Force will be restricted to a form letter setting forth the date Gordon Junger commenced employment and in what capacity and the date he ceased employment and his position at that time. A copy of the proposed form letter is annexed hereto as Exhibit "A";
No Police Act or Criminal Code charges will be laid against Gordon Junger arising from or with respect to his relationship both, personal and business with Franklina Langford;
All physical evidence relating to this subject investigation (ie. Gordon Junger's personal and business dealings with Franklina Langford) shall be destroyed on or before May 1, 1990, save and except for the investigating officers' notes. Detective Sergeant N. Shannon will advise Kenneth Byers, counsel for Gordon Junger, in writing of compliance with this paragraph when same has been effected;
This Agreement is conditional upon all of the foregoing being completed;
This parties hereto agree that the content of this Agreement are confidential and shall not be divulged to any person whatsoever.
TO EVIDENCE THEIR AGREEMENT each of the parties has signed this contract under seal before a witness.
SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED
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Created: September 30, 1998|
Last modified: September 30, 1998
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