Police Officers Are Not Permitted to have a Lawyer Review or Vet Their Notes During SIU Investigations


see source

Police officers involved in fatal shootings and other serious incidents are not permitted to have a lawyer vet or help prepare their notes before they’re turned over to the Special Investigations Unit, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled.

In a 3-0 decision Tuesday, the court said allowing lawyers into the process to shape and refine the finished product would defeat “the fundamental nature and purpose of a police officer’s notes” — to provide an independent and contemporaneous recollection of what happened.

“An officer eager to have . . . a legally valid explanation for his or her own conduct would naturally emphasize and present the facts in accordance with the lawyer’s advice,” said Justice Robert Sharpe, who wrote the judgment.

There’s nothing to prevent an officer immersed in the “stressful” aftermath of a police shooting from getting some basic legal advice about their rights and duties, such as whether they are required to answer questions from SIU investigators, Sharpe said.

But officers must complete their notes before the end of their shift and can’t delay for the purposes of getting advice from a lawyer, he said on behalf of a panel that included Justices Robert Armstrong and Paul Rouleau.

The decision is a victory for the families of Doug Minty, 59, and Levi Schaeffer, 32, two mentally ill men shot dead by the Ontario Provincial Police two days apart in June 2009.

“Hopefully the ruling of these judges is going to change things and our work has not been in vain,” said Minty’s mother, Evelyn, 84.

Their families were shocked by some of the practices employed by officers during investigations by the SIU, the independent civilian agency set up to investigate when police are involved in cases involving death, serious injury or sexual assault.

They’ve also been a concern to SIU director Ian Scott, who has complained such practices frustrate the agency’s investigations.

“This judgment is a huge step forward in the battle against police manipulation of SIU investigations,” said Julian Falconer, a lawyer representing the families.

Scott said the ruling will improve the SIU’s ability to conduct thorough investigations.

“We’re heartened by the decision,” he said.

At a hearing earlier this year, the appeal court was told it is common for officers involved in SIU investigations to prepare double sets of notes, one to be vetted by their lawyer and a second for public consumption.

The court was also told that in a Hamilton Police Association newsletter in 2009, a Toronto lawyer who frequently represents officers recommended anyone involved in an SIU investigation be vague about how many times they fired their gun.

The lawyer also offered an example of how an officer might logically explain such an incident.

“The obvious needs to be said again and again,” he wrote. “He pointed the firearm at me and, fearing for my life and the life and safety of my fellow officers and members of the public, I fired at him several times.”

About five hours after Schaeffer was killed during an investigation into a boat theft at Pickle Lake, the officer who fired the fatal shot consulted his lawyer, Andrew MacKay, who asked him to prepare notes for him to review.

The officer, Const. Kris Wood, later wrote in his notebook that Wood advised him that his notes “were excellent and to complete his notebook.”

The families sued, asking a judge to rule on whether the note-vetting custom and other practices followed by officers in the course of SIU investigations were authorized under the Police Services Act.

The officers and the Commissioner of the OPP argued the families had no standing to bring that question before a court as a matter of public interest.

They also argued the family’s concerns had become moot as a result of recent amendments to rules governing SIU investigations.

Last year, an Ontario Superior Court judge agreed and dismissed the case.

The families pressed ahead, at great financial and emotional cost.

“At times it gets me down,” Minty said.

They came forward with their case to honour Douglas and to help others who have a loved one shot by police, she said.

“Since it will not help my son, we’ve worked to have more accountability for future families.”

Doug Minty became upset when a door-to-door salesman called at their Elmvale home. The salesman called police and when an officer arrived Minty approached him holding a knife.

The officer fired five shots.

Minty lay bleeding at the end of the driveway as his mother called out to a neighbour.

A sergeant advised all officers on the scene to hold off on making notes until they had spoken with a lawyer.

The lawyer was Andrew MacKay, who was retained to represent not just the officer who shot Minty but those who witnessed the shooting. At that time, the sharing of a lawyer between “witness” and “subject” officers was common.

The families challenged that practice, arguing that since a lawyer has a professional duty to share information among clients in those circumstances, there was a risk that officers would use that information to get their stories straight.

Police Act regulations were recently amended to prohibit witness officers from being represented by the same lawyer as subject officers.

Lawyers for the OPP officers and commissioner argued those changes made the families’ case moot, but Sharpe disagreed.

The court awarded the families $100,000 in legal costs, to be paid by police respondents.

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Pin on Pinterestshare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail to someone


  1. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to check it out.

    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and great design and style.

  2. I got what you specify, thanks for swing up. Woh I am happy to get this website finished google. Thanks For Share Police Officers Are Not Permitted to have a Lawyer Review or Vet Their Notes During SIU Investigations.

  3. Simply desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity for your publish is just nice and that i could assume you’re knowledgeable in this subject. Well along with your permission let me to snatch your RSS feed to stay up to date with imminent post. Thanks one million and please carry on the gratifying work. Valuable information. Lucky me I discovered your site unintentionally, and I’m shocked why this accident did not took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

  4. Hi there, simply became aware of your blog via Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I’ll be grateful in case you continue this in future. Lots of folks might be benefited from your writing. Cheers!
    It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy. I have learn this post and if I could I want to counsel you few fascinating things or suggestions. Maybe you can write subsequent articles relating to this article. I want to read more things approximately it!
    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m inspired! Extremely useful information specially the last part :) I take care of such information much. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.
    hello there and thank you on your information ? I’ve definitely picked up anything new from proper here. I did however expertise several technical issues the use of this site, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of instances previous to I could get it to load properly. I have been brooding about in case your hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading cases instances will very frequently affect your placement in google and could damage your quality ranking if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m including this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot extra of your respective intriguing content. Ensure that you update this again soon..
    Fantastic goods from you, man. I have take into account your stuff prior to and you’re just too fantastic. I really like what you have received here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which in which you are saying it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to stay it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific site.
    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!
    I just like the valuable info you provide on your articles. I will bookmark your blog and take a look at once more here frequently. I am moderately sure I will learn many new stuff proper right here! Best of luck for the next!
    I think that is one of the so much significant information for me. And i am satisfied reading your article. But should observation on some basic things, The website taste is wonderful, the articles is actually nice : D. Excellent activity, cheers
    We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with helpful info to work on. You’ve performed a formidable process and our whole community will likely be thankful to you.
    Undeniably consider that which you stated.
    This is very attention-grabbing, You are an excessively professional blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to in quest of extra of your magnificent post. Additionally, I have shared your web site in my social networks
    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.
    I cherished up to you’ll receive performed right here. The cartoon is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that you would like be handing over the following. ill for sure come further formerly once more as precisely the similar nearly a lot ceaselessly within case you shield this hike.
    Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my blog so i came to return the desire?.I am trying to in finding issues to improve my site!I suppose its good enough to use a few of your ideas!!
    Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity to your submit is just excellent and that i can think you are an expert in this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grasp your RSS feed to keep up to date with imminent post. Thanks one million and please continue the enjoyable work.
    Its such as you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I believe that you just can do with a few p.c. to drive the message house a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.
    Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It if truth be told was once a enjoyment account it. Glance complicated to far brought agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?
    Hello there, You have performed a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this site.
    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a weblog website? The account helped me a applicable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vibrant clear concept
    I’m really impressed together with your writing skills as smartly as with the layout to your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s uncommon to look a great weblog like this one these days..
    Pretty element of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I get actually loved account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing in your feeds and even I fulfillment you access persistently fast.
    My brother recommended I may like this blog. He used to be entirely right. This put up actually made my day. You cann’t consider simply how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thanks!
    I do not even understand how I finished up right here, but I assumed this post was good. I do not recognize who you might be however certainly you are going to a famous blogger should you are not already. Cheers!
    Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to offer something back and aid others such as you helped me.
    I was suggested this website by means of my cousin. I’m now not sure whether or not this submit is written by way of him as no one else know such particular about my trouble. You’re amazing! Thanks!
    Excellent weblog right here! Also your website lots up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your associate link to your host? I desire my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol
    Wow, incredible blog format! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The total glance of your site is fantastic, as neatly as the content material!
    I am not certain where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend a while finding out much more or working out more. Thank you for great info I used to be searching for this info for my mission.
    You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation however I to find this matter to be really something that I believe I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and very large for me. I am taking a look ahead for your next submit, I will try to get the hold of it!
    I’ve been surfing online greater than 3 hours these days, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s beautiful worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the web will likely be a lot more useful than ever before.
    I do accept as true with all the concepts you have introduced on your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for beginners. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.
    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.
    I’ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.
    A person necessarily help to make significantly posts I would state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this particular put up extraordinary. Excellent process!
    Magnificent site. Lots of useful information here. I’m sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks on your effort!
    hi!,I love your writing so much! proportion we be in contact more about your post on AOL? I require a specialist in this house to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look ahead to peer you.
    Awesome things here. I’m very happy to see your article. Thank you so much and I’m taking a look forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?
    I just couldn’t go away your site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info an individual provide in your visitors? Is going to be back regularly in order to check out new posts
    You’re truly a excellent webmaster. The web site loading pace is amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a magnificent job on this subject!
    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually realize what you are talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also discuss with my website =). We may have a hyperlink change contract among us
    Terrific work! This is the type of info that are supposed to be shared across the internet. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and consult with my website . Thanks =)
    Valuable information. Fortunate me I discovered your web site by chance, and I am surprised why this coincidence did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.
    I have been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or blog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site. Studying this info So i’m happy to show that I have a very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I such a lot without a doubt will make sure to don?t disregard this website and provides it a look regularly.
    Woah this weblog is fantastic i really like studying your articles. Stay up the great work! You realize, lots of individuals are searching around for this info, you could aid them greatly.
    I enjoy, cause I discovered just what I used to be having a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye
    Thank you for another great article. The place else could anybody get that type of info in such a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such information.
    It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.
    Excellent put up, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector do not realize this. You must proceed your writing. I’m confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!|What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to contribute & aid different customers like its aided me. Great job.
    Thank you, I’ve recently been searching for information approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I have came upon so far. However, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the supply?|What i do not realize is actually how you are not actually much more smartly-preferred than you may be right now. You are very intelligent.
    You recognize therefore significantly in the case of this matter, produced me in my opinion believe it from so many varied angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be fascinated unless it is one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. Always care for it up!
    Generally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite great post.
    Hello my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and come with almost all significant infos. I would like to peer extra posts like this .
    obviously like your web-site but you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll surely come back again.
    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem together with your site in web explorer, would test this? IE nonetheless is the market leader and a good component to people will pass over your great writing because of this problem.
    I’ve read some excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you set to create this kind of fantastic informative web site.
    Hi there very cool blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?I’m satisfied to search out numerous helpful information right here within the publish, we need develop extra techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .
    It is really a great and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.
    Great issues altogether, you just won a emblem new reader. What might you recommend in regards to your put up that you simply made a few days in the past? Any sure?
    Thank you for some other informative site. The place else may just I get that type of information written in such an ideal manner? I have a challenge that I’m simply now running on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such information.
    Hi there, I found your web site by the use of Google at the same time as searching for a similar matter, your website got here up, it appears good. I’ve added to my favourites|added to my bookmarks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.