Friday, September 24, 1993

Bob Brent

Officers aimed to discredit complainant, police board told

Metro police investigated a woman in an attempt to "destroy" her credibility after she filed a complaint against the force, the police services board has heard.

Several sources say the investigation of a woman identified only as "Mrs. F" involved retired deputy chief Peter Scott, although the report adopted yesterday by the board did not name Scott directly.

Scott, who headed the force's support services section and internal affairs unit, retired in November of last year. He could not be reached for comment.

The police board yesterday ordered Chief William McCormack to investigate the matter and to prepare a policy "that establishes the clear principle that the force will not engage in any activity which discourages public complainants..."

McCormack had left the board meeting and later could not be reached for comment.

But Harry Black, the lawyer who represented the officers named in the complaint, last night said it was the public complaints commission that bungled the inquiry.

Board chairperson Susan Eng's report was based on a letter she received from Crown Attorney Ian D. Scott of the province's criminal prosecutions office.

According to Eng's report, Metro police investigated the woman after she had filed a complaint about officers agreeing to protect her "in exchange for a sexual favor."

Police tried to 'destroy' complainant, board told

The public complaints commission initiated an inquiry into the woman's 1989 complaint after Metro police failed to act on the matter.

The board of inquiry was later stayed after Black argued that there had been an undue delay of nine months between the time Mrs. F learned an inquiry had been called and when the officers were notified.

Metro police initiated their investigation of the woman "for the purpose of undermining Mrs. F's credibility before the (public complaints) tribunal," Eng quotes Ian Scott as having concluded.

Eng's report also quotes an internal police memo to an unnamed senior officer as saying that 'the collected materials will be useful in 'destroying' Mrs. F's credibility."

But Black said the complaints commissioner's investigation was a "disgrace. There was no proper investigation whatsoever."

He recalled Peter Scott as saying, "Somebody has to investigate this," and assigning two officers to interview witnesses in the matter.

He said public complaints commissioner Claire Lewis was aware of the police investigation.

"There was nothing improper at all," he said angrily. "There was never anything secret about this. Ian Scott doesn't know what he is talking about."

Black confirmed that investigators provided him with their findings about Mrs. F but he disavowed any knowledge of the internal police memo saying that the material would be useful in "destroying " her credibility.

Mrs. F's lawyer, Ray Kuszelewski, called the board's actions "vindication" for his client.

About "Mrs. F"... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: August 17, 1999
Last modified: August 17, 1999

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