Friday, August 28, 1992
No more "Junger deals," police toldChief William McCormack and the Metro Police Services Board must act quickly to ensure there are "no more secret deals and no more sweetheart deals," the chairman of a provincial inquiry says.
Toronto lawyer Frank D'Andrea, co-author of a scathing report on mismanagement of the police discipline process, said justice "must be done and (be) seen to be done" when an officer is accused of wrongdoing. "There are those that will say this is an anti-cop report, and it isn't that at all," D'Andrea told a packed news conference yesterday afternoon. "What we're saying is that everyone involved, the chief, the police board, have to start doing their jobs."
In the toughly worded report released yesterday, a three-member inquiry panel denounced the force's handling of the Gordon Junger affair.
Junger, a nine-year police officer, signed a resignation deal with police Jan. 19, 1990, amid allegations he was a male prostitute and co-owner of an escort service.
Metro police demonstrated "a tremendous lack of integrity" by signing the secret deal with Junger, then saying they wouldn't abide by its terms, the report said.
"We are unsure which is more reprehensible -- to enter into a secret contractual agreement which purports to destroy evidence.... or enter into a secret contractual agreement with no intention of complying with it," the panel wrote. "Either way, the actions of the force demonstrated a tremendous lack of integrity." The report, which threatens to shake the foundations of the Metro force, also contains strong criticism of the work of the police services board.
Toronto Mayor June Rowlands, chairperson of the police board during the time of the Junger affair, condemned the report as misguided. It said the police board erred when it chose not to press the chief for details of the agreement, citing Rowland's testimony to the inquiry that she didn't press McCormack because she thought he wouldn't provide it.
"That's simply not true. It's wrong," Rowlands said, adding the board made a decision to take an arms-length approach to try to come up with recommendations to avoid a repeat of the situation.
Prepared by three members of the Ontario Civillian Commission on Police Services, the report makes 24 recommendations to redress the "serious mismanagement" of the internal discipline process.
"In particular, we have endeavored to improve accountability throughout the system," the commissioners said. "We have also argued for a change in attitude -- the force should be less defensive and the police services board more proactive."
D'Andrea, however, said his report does not require the resignation of McCormack so long as the chief agrees to reform the discipline process.
Police told to forget "sweetheart dealsReaction to the report was swift and strong. Police board chairperson Susan Eng hailed it as a catalyst for change. "It sets out in black and white what I've always said about the need for greater civilian control of the police force -- something I've always been criticized for trying to exert," she said. Eng, however, said she was taken aback by the severity of the language in the report and disappointed by its lack of direction for the board.
The inquiry panel, however, said it was not within its mandate to condemn the conduct of any individual adding: "If there is to be a calling to account for what occurred, it should be done by those who are directly responsible for policing services in Metro Toronto (the police board)."
Lawyer Brian Greenspan said McCormack, his client, was on his way back last night from Victoria, BC, where he was attending a chiefs of police conference. McCormack, he said, was expected to review the report and issue a statement today.
The inquiry examined in detail the conduct of the Junger case and another internal affairs investigation, known as the Jane Doe case.
Jane Doe complained to internal affairs in November, 1989, alleging that Sergeant Brian Whitehead extorted sexual favors from her by threatening her with arrest. After an internal investigation, Whitehead pleaded guilty to Police Act charges of corruption and deceit. He was demoted to constable.
The two-year, $1 million inquiry would have been unnecessary had officials at police headquarters done their jobs, the report says. The commissioners made 24 recommendations. Among them that:
The Junger affair had remained under wraps until April, 1990, when The Star revealed the officer's involvement in an escort service. The article also raised the possibility of a deal. Much of the testimony heard at the inquiry centred on the two-page resignation agreement reached with Junger. The document was inked by Junger and internal affairs Detective Sergeant Neil Shannon, who signed it "as per the chief."
On its face, the agreement bound police to see that a crown attorney withdrew a narcotics possession charge against Junger. It also seemed to bind police to destroying evidence related to his "business and personal dealings" with call girl Roma Langford.
In its report, the inquiry panel condemned the deal, and the defence of it launched by internal affairs detectives. Internal affairs Superintendent Aiden Mahar called the deal a "con" of Junger, given that police had no intention of living up to the promise to destroy evidence. "In an effort to rid the force of an officer who was considered unsuitable, expediency has taken precedence over principle, " the report says.
"We cannot state too strongly our disapproval of the agreement in the terms expressed. "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 panel also concluded McCormack should have ensured that he was fully informed of the details of the agreement before allowing it to be signed.
"Once the chief became aware of the agreement, he should have repudiated it and taken it to the police services board," the report said. "Keeping the agreement confidential, especially from his own board, was an inappropriate reaction. When McCormack finally saw the agreement, in mid-March, 1990, he issued an order saying all similar deals have to be vetted by the force's lawyer. According to McCormack, he subsequently showed Rowlands (then chairperson of the police services board) a copy of the agreement.
Rowlands, however, has maintained she did not see a copy of the agreement until she met investigators from the police commission month later. Rowlands said the chief seemed unwilling to show her the agreement.
The inquiry panel found the board's response "woefully inadequate." "Once it learned of the matter, the board should have demanded to see the agreement, it should have asked for legal advise on the implications. It should have contacted counsel for Junger and advised him that the terms were unacceptable to the board."
Some of the other lawyers involved in the inquiry hailed the report. "In my view, this is the first instance where civilian authorities have exercised control over the police." said Peter Rosenthal, lawyer for Junger. "And it's an excellent beginning in that respect, but it's only a beginning." Rosenthal said the police board should convene a hearing into the conduct of McCormack and other senior officers involved in the Junger case.
D'Andrea, who admitted to being saddened by his experience as a panelist at the inquiry co-authored the report along with Justice of the Peace Jean Beauprie and law professor Julio Menezes.
Their report concludes: "Our hope is that this inquiry will lead to a more responsible and accountable police force and police services board." But that will only happen if all those involved are willing to accept criticism, recognize that errors were made and make changes."
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