Wednesday, August 28, 1991

Sally Ritchie

192 police files demanded, probe told

The head of the Public Complaints Commission has demanded that the chief of police turn over 192 files compiled by the force's internal affairs department, a commission lawyer has announced.

Susan Watt said yesterday that Clare Lewis, who heads the civilian commission, made the request in a letter sent to Police Chief William McCormack on Monday.

"The commissioner feels he has the legal right to these cases. He has required the chief to produce them," Watt said, adding that the commissioner "feels he has this duty to the public." The files were mentioned in a report to the attorney-general's ministry. The report was made by former Supreme Court justice Richard Holland, who reviewed them.

Holland concluded that 138 of the cases should have been referred to the public complaints commissioner, but were not. Watt said the commissioner wants to see these 138 cases, as well as others that Holland categorized differently. Watt made the announcement at the provincial inquiry into the practices of the police force's internal affairs department.

The inquiry is currently dealing with the case of Brian Whitehead, who was demoted after an internal affairs investigation culminated in Police Act charges. Watt's announcement came just after Dan Brodsky, who represents Roma Langford, moved that the inquiry commission see these files.

Watt said it is certainly within the mandate of the inquiry to "question why such complaints were not referred to the Public Complaints Commission."

Langford, a high-priced call girl, testified when the inquiry examined the case of Gordon Junger, who resigned from the force.

Brodsky said his client "is deeply suspicious" that a gender and race bias exists on the force, and wants the commission to examine the files in this respect.

Calling such an investigation "a travesty," the lawyer for the Police Services Board vigorously objected. "My concern is the system and the public's confidence in the system," said Richard Shibley. "The mere allegation (of bias) is enough to undermine the public confidence."

"These motions are really about trying to flail the police in the public eye with innuendo, suspicions, and concerns that led us nowhere." Eddie Greenspan, who represents the internal affairs department, attacked Brodsky after the motion, saying it was not a submission by a genuine lawyer. The motion was "outrageous, preposterous, silly...... and fundamentally wrong," Greenspan said.

Certain people in this room. ... have a certain agenda to disgrace and embarrass the police force, he said. He added that The Star's reporting of the inquiry "has been deplorable" and that the paper has always " put a spin on evidence heard.

Brodsky told The Star he felt the police force could not be exonerated and the inquiry has seen the reports. Unless you ask the question, can you honestly say (no biases) exist?" In response to Greenspan's accusations, Brodsky said, I defy anyone to say that my concerns for reform and change in the system are not genuine.

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