Thursday, August 27, 1992
Junger inquiry: Resignation pact "highly improper"The following is a partial, edited transcript of a report from a public inquiry into the conduct of the Metro police force in the case of former constable Gordon Junger, who was allowed to resign after it was alleged he ran an escort agency.
The resignation agreement with (former) constable Gordon Junger was the issue which prompted the holding of this inquiry and it is central to the recommendations and conclusions in this report.
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 (Metro Police) 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." 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.
We 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.
The 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 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 (witness) Roma Langford had retracted her statement.
The submission of commission counsel fairly states the objection to this line of reasoning.
The objective is not that condition (the requirement for consent to withdraw by the Crown) was not expressed, but that the force committed itself to 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 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 Staff Inspector (Aidan) Mohar in an effort to persuade the crown to withdraw...
The agreement promised that "no Police Act or Criminal Code charges will be laid against Gordon Junger from or with respect to this relationship both personal and business with Franklina (Roma) 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 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.
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 association 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 partner 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 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.
We also object to the provisions of the agreement that undertook to provide a neutral, non-derogatory employment reference for Junger. In Junger's case, his personal record listed resignation for "personal reasons." There was no reference to the resignation agreement in his personal file.
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.
It 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.
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