Sunday, March 3, 1991
WEEK IN REVIEW
Police inquiry raises thorny questionsFormer Metro constable Gordon Junger took centre stage at the Ontario Police Commission inquiry last week without making an appearance. Junger, a nine-year police veteran, signed a controversial resignation agreement amid a sex-for-money scandal last year. And the events leading to his March 1, 1990, resignation became the focus of testimony from witnesses that included Metro's two top police officials.
Police Chief William McCormack and Police Services Board chairperson June Rowlands last week appeared before the three-member panel examining the Junger affair and the operations of Metro's internal affairs unit. The eight-member squad investigates allegations of wrongdoing against police officers.
From the evidence, panel members are expected to produce recommendations designed to improve the management, practices and procedures of Metro's internal affairs unit. The mandate of the inquiry means they'll be asked to answer some thorny questions that could change police practices:
The panel will also be asked to determine what was actually meant by the wording of the Jan. 19, 1990, resignation agreement, signed by Junger and Detective Neil Shannon of internal affairs.
In the two page-document, the police agrees agree to withdraw a drug charge and destroy evidence relating to Junger's "personal and business dealings" with his one-time girlfriend, Roma Langford, who worked as a call girl. Metro police officials were convinced that Junger was working as a male prostitute as part of an escort service run with Langford.
It quickly became evident that only a select handful of senior officers and internal affairs investigators were aware of Junger's resignation deal. Rowlands said she didn't see the agreement until just weeks ago; the Metro officer responsible for prosecuting Police Act charges against Junger said he had no idea why the officer resigned.
And the federal prosecutor who recommended the withdrawal of a drug charge against Junger said he, too, was not informed of the agreement -- even though he had sought assurances that such a deal did not exist.
McCormack was the only witness to testify last week that he knew about the document. But McCormack said he wasn't aware of the contents of the contract, even though it was signed by Shannon "as per the chief." During two full days of sometimes acrimonious testimony, McCormack said he would not give any officer the authority to sign a document that he had not seen. He said he did not give Shannon approval to sign the resignation agreement in his name.
"You will have to ask the two investigating officers why they signed "as per the chief of police," he told Junger's lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, during a gruelling cross-examination. The chief rejected suggestions that the agreement amounted to any kind of "deal." Metro's internal affairs unit may have made "errors in judgement" by signing the contract, but they "gave away nothing," McCormack said. "I am convinced he (Junger) got nothing whatsoever" from the agreement, he said.
Junger was charged with possession of hashish in early December, 1989, on the strength of information supplied by Langford, who had gone to police to complain about the constable's conduct. Langford, however, later changed her evidence about who owned the hashish. As a result, the police did not have enough evidence to take the matter to court, McCormack said.
The agreement's reference to the destruction of evidence was, in his opinion, limited to the hashish involved in the drug charge, McCormack testified. He rejected suggestions that the clause could also apply to a videotaped police "sting" operation in which Junger is seen asking $200 from an undercover policewoman in return for sex acts. Nor could the clause refer to Langford's taped telephone conversations with Junger.
Lawyers for Junger and Langford questioned the chief at length about his knowledge and understanding of the agreement. Often, however, the chief deflected questions by saying he was not part of the investigation and their queries would have to be directed to members of internal affairs.
Shannon and other internal affairs investigators are expected to take the witness stand in May when the inquiry resumes.
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