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The Heavy Hand of the RCMP - Protect Your Own and Silence Critics


Wetcoaster

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And the heavy hand of the RCMP comes down on a critic by way of the criminal law - a little used and archaic provision of the Criminal Code known as "defamatory libel" at section 301. The reason it is so rare is that the hurdles to be cleared are so high.

In 1998 in R. v. Lucas the Supreme Court of Canada stated that section 301 of the Canadian Criminal Code will only be triggered following a “grave insult or falsehood.” As such, the specific intent to defame, even if proven beyond a reasonable doubt, is insufficient without the accompanying harm to the complainant’s repute. Again, due diligence is applied to ensure that legitimate expression is not curtailed, and that only the most visceral statements will be prosecuted.

Chief Justice McLachlin further stated that all charges are to be examined "casuistically". This requirement automatically triggers a constitutional analysis to determine whether an abridgement of freedom of expression is justified. Justification is only established where the salutary effects of restricting the accused’s freedom of expression outweigh the negative effects arising from the abridgment. In other words, if the protection of a person’s reputation must outweighs the negative effects of silencing the expression in a given case. It is pretty hard to see how that test would be met in this case.

The RCMP is using Section 301 to institute an investigation and try to justify search and seizure of computers of a whistleblower who had complained about a Coquitlam RCMP member, Corporal Jim Brown (aka The Kilted Knight), posting S&M photos on a website which included photos of the RCMP member himself.

Earlier during the Missing Women Inquiry, lawyer Cameron Ward had tried to have Cpl. Brown summoned as witness as he had been involved in the Pickton case alleging he had acted inappropriately but was denied as it was not deemed "relevant". Given that many of the victims were tied up, hung and murdered in much the same way as some of the photos that have become public, it seems to have been relevant.

At the time of the raid on the whistleblower Micheal Vonn, a lawyer with B.C. Civil Liberties Association, called the RCMP actions an inappropriate use of police resources, because defamation belongs in civil court. Vonn also said she believes the defamatory libel section of the Criminal Code is unconstitutional.

“When we look at these arcane, highly suspect provisions of the Code and we see the police going after their own critics, we have reason to be very concerned indeed,” said Vonn.

And the BCCLA and four media outlets applied to unseal the warrant and were partially successful.

CBC News is among four organizations fighting to unseal a search warrant carried out by the RCMP in B.C. in August.

The search occurred after it was discovered that a Mountie had posted several photos of himself on the internet, photos in which he was seen in bondage-type poses with other people.

The warrant wasn't executed on the Mountie, but on the man who'd reported him to the RCMP.

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...ky-mountie.html

See the video report at the above link. The person targeted is intending to sue the RCMP for harassment.

Now more details are emerging as the RCMP is being forced to unseal the warrant and the heavily censored supporting affidavit materials. And as suspected this is looking more and more like a heavy-handed attempt by the RCMP to strike back at critics using the weight of its police powers.

Newly unsealed court documents reveal that a rare criminal libel investigation launched against a New Westminster resident this summer relate to alleged defamatory statements made online against an RCMP officer mired in a scandal over sexually explicit photos and other members of the force.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which together with media outlets fought to unseal the records, is questioning why a criminal investigation was needed when defamation issues are normally handled through civil channels.

“The idea that a bunch of people with guns can take away your computer if you say the wrong thing on the Internet is anathema to free speech and democracy,” David Eby, the BCCLA’s executive director, said on Friday.

“Here, somebody was punished without proof of wrongdoing. He lost all his computers and had a search warrant executed at his house by armed police.”

A statement posted on the B.C. RCMP’s website says the search warrant was “a step in the collection of evidence” stemming from allegations of criminal behaviour by several individuals.

“The investigative team was tasked with investigating all aspects of several allegations and to follow investigative leads regardless of where those leads took them. This is what is expected in criminal investigations,” the statement said.

Eby says the resident who was the subject of the Aug. 18 warrant told the association that 10 RCMP and New Westminster police officers took part in the search of his home.

http://www.canada.co...l#ixzz27EMWl329

We have now learned that a code of conduct hearing had been launched against Brown only when the issue of the photos became public. OOPS got caught covering up... need to be seen doing something. Maybe that should be the new RCMP motto.

In early July, knowing that media outlets were now aware of these photographs, a code-of conduct investigation was ordered against Brown with the Richmond RCMP tapped to lead the investigation.

In a public statement at that time, Assistant Commissioner Randy Beck said that while the force recognized an individual’s rights and freedoms when off duty, he was “personally embarrassed and very disappointed” that the RCMP would be linked to photos of that nature.

Days later, the court records state, yet another code-of-conduct investigation was launched against Brown because of the discovery in his briefcase of DVDs containing sexual images depicting Brown, and other items. Brown had previously been ordered not to bring such images to work, but Brown said he was only warned to be “mindful” about bringing such material to work, according to the documents.

The same court records also suggest that Brown may have misused RCMP computers to run people’s names and that there were complaints of harassment lodged against Brown by female employees in his detachment.

The court documents also reveal that senior RCMP managers convened an investigative team in July to look into whether Brown may have committed any criminal offences. The investigation was dubbed “Project E-Norther.”

But the court documents state that while allegations of professional misconduct “appear to be supported,” there is no evidence to support allegations of any criminal misconduct.

And yet a criminal investigation proceeded against the person who blew the whistle on The Kilted Knight.

And I suppose we should feel sorry for the poor Kilted Knight as the the allegedly defamatory statements against Brown have caused him to become “depressed, stressed, angry and vindictive,” the court records state. Sounds like he should be pulled off the streets - and then fired summarily.

The BCCLA and several media outlets are going back to court in an attempt to unseal the remaining parts of the documents.

Gotta love the RCMP - Maintiens Le Droit and all that...

1954-l-g.jpg

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell others what they do not want to hear.” ~ George Orwell

Here is a blog post by lawyer Cameron Ward and how he was threatened with defamation charge:

http://www.cameronwa...s-hard-at-work/

And the post that stirred up the RCMP:

http://www.cameronwa...s-the-big-deal/

Here is an article on Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jim Brown (aka the “Kilted Knight”) by Ian Mulgrew, political opinion columnist for the Vancouver Sun:

http://www.vancouver...5247/story.html

And for those wondering why would the RCMP would choose to try this bizarre route using the Criminal Code for a situation that does not seem to meet past case law rather than file a civil suit, consider this. If a civil suit is filed then a Defendant can examine for discovery the Plaintiffs and they become compellable witnesses at trial as well as openeing up a whole hot of documets that must be provided to the Defendants. Under criminal charges it is the Crown who determines who gets called as a witness and there is no examination for discovery. IMHO this search warrant process is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate and try to silence critics of the RCMP - the whole things stinks to high heaven.

The media and BCCLA were back in court on 16 October to completely unseal the warrant and a decision is pending.

BCCLA executive director David Eby points out any private citizen who has been defamed must sue in civil court, but only police can use the rare criminal charge of defamatory libel.

"They're using this very rare provision, they're using such extraordinary measures that we don't see in other situations and he's a critic of the RCMP, and we say it's a fair question to ask," said Eby.

...

"The RCMP should be extra transparent in a situation like that and instead they're being extra secretive," said Eby.

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...nt-bondage.html

Moral of the story? Do not try to bring disgraceful conduct and allegations of wrongdoing to the attention of the RCMP... you could end up being the target as the Mounties circle the wagons.

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Or maybe the good ol' boys club should just have boys in it.

I see nothing wrong with the RCMP's intentions, in that they are a proud organization that wants to regain some of it's pride. And a trend for all officer relationship spats to public isn't exactly a good one. Esp. when it leads to a class action lawsuit, which will do nothing but make the lawyers richer and the whistleblowers shunned.

Yes, they might had an issue with one (or more) of their officers. A: It happens all the time. B: Why is it wrong for them to want to deal with it in-house, as usual? C: If they aren't dealing with it appropiately, then why don't we see their in-house rules change so they can?

If Grabby McGee works in your office, i sure as hell don't wanna hear about it. Just deal with it. And forcryingoutloud, don't send it to court to waste more of our tax dollars.

Ah, i see Bill C-42 was introduced this week to help the RCMP accomplish what i'm talking about. Good.

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Or maybe the good ol' boys club should just have boys in it.

I see nothing wrong with the RCMP's intentions, in that they are a proud organization that wants to regain some of it's pride. And a trend for all officer relationship spats to public isn't exactly a good one. Esp. when it leads to a class action lawsuit, which will do nothing but make the lawyers richer and the whistleblowers shunned.

Yes, they might had an issue with one (or more) of their officers. A: It happens all the time. B: Why is it wrong for them to want to deal with it in-house, as usual? C: If they aren't dealing with it appropiately, then why don't we see their in-house rules change so they can?

If Grabby McGee works in your office, i sure as hell don't wanna hear about it. Just deal with it. And forcryingoutloud, don't send it to court to waste more of our tax dollars.

Ah, i see Bill C-42 was introduced this week to help the RCMP accomplish what i'm talking about. Good.

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Can't we sick the new independent investigation authority after them?

Oh, and I seriously doubt that Cameron Ward of all people is going to be intimidated by this. He is probably loving all the "negative" attention as it will just give him more ammo for his political means.

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Can't we sick the new independent investigation authority after them?

Oh, and I seriously doubt that Cameron Ward of all people is going to be intimidated by this. He is probably loving all the "negative" attention as it will just give him more ammo for his political means.

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The BC Civil Liberties Associations and several media outlets (Vancouver Sun, National Post and CBC) were successful in forcing the RCMP to unseal the warrant used to raid Grant Wakefield's home and seize his computers and cell phone. And it seems there was much more involved including the RCMP being assisted surreptitiously by the New Westminster police.

The BCCLA’s lawyers have been successful in unsealing the secret “Information to Obtain” affidavit materials used to get a search warrant against a prominent RCMP critic in North Vancouver. The RCMP, using the search warrant for the alleged crime of “criminal defamation”, seized the home computers and cell phones of a North Vancouver man who allegedly had posted defamatory comments about an RCMP officer on the comment section of a blog, in a private e-mail, and to a Twitter account with 13 followers.

http://bccla.org/news/2012/10/bccla-successful-in-unsealing-warrant-materials/

Here is the decision of Judge P. D. Gulbransen of the BC Provincial Court:

http://bccla.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/20121029-Decision-Criminal-Defamation.pdf

Here is the search warrant materials ordered disclosed with minor redactions:

http://www.cbc.ca/bc/news/bc-121029-wakefield-warrant-rcmp.pdf

As a result of the warrant being unsealed and after review of the materials BCCLA has now filed a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP as announced in the BCCLA press release:

BCCLA demands watchdog investigate RCMP actions against critic

Posted on October 30, 2012

New information in unsealed court documents has the BCCLA demanding an investigation into the RCMP for seizing the computers of a man who says he was helping unhappy RCMP members post their concerns online. On August 18, 2012, Grant Wakefield’s computers and cell phone were seized in a joint RCMP Major Crime and New Westminster Police Department operation.

The RCMP has confirmed that Wakefield was the informant whose information and photographs started high profile code of conduct and criminal investigations into Port Coquitlam RCMP officer Jim Brown’s activities. Simultaneously, Wakefield was also anonymously assisting disgruntled members of the RCMP to run a blog called the “Re-Sergence Alliance” blog, a blog that posted alleged RCMP front line member concerns about RCMP management and policy online.

Although the RCMP says their primary concern in keeping the Court document secret was Grant Wakefield’s privacy, the BCCLA says that new unsealed information reveals for the first time the full extent of the RCMP Major Crime section’s efforts to seize Wakefield’s computers and phone.

“When Mr. Wakefield received threats against his life after bringing his information about Jim Brown to the RCMP, he called 911. When the New West police responded, they spied on him, gathering information about his computers and providing that information to the RCMP,” says David Eby, Executive Director, of the BCCLA. “The RCMP then used that information to seize the same computers Mr. Wakefield was using to help disgruntled and anonymous RCMP members.”

Eby said that despite the fact the threats appeared to have been made against Wakefield by someone with inside information about the Jim Brown investigation, the RCMP appear to have focussed their resources on seizing Wakefield’s computers.

“We’re asked to believe the RCMP used the resources of their major crime section, computer forensics team, the Federal Department of Justice, and a search warrant, to investigate what amounts to conspiracy theories posted in the comment section of an erotic blog and a Twitter account with thirteen followers,” said Eby. “Defamatory comments are made every day on the internet, and the RCMP doesn’t send their major crime team to investigate. What makes this case unique is that the man who had his computers taken away by the police was using those computers to help unhappy RCMP members publish their concerns online.”

The BCCLA is demanding the Commission for Public Complaints investigate the entire RCMP operation against Grant Wakefield, and has written to them to file a complaint.

http://bccla.org/news/2012/10/bccla-demands-watchdog-investigate-rcmp-actions-against-critic/

Here is the letter of complaint which details 8 specific issues:

http://bccla.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/20121030-Letter-Search-Warrant.pdf

And a summary of the case:

The RCMP inappropriately used its resources to investigate one of its informants, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

The association sent a letter to the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP asking for a probe into the Mounties’ actions, to be conducted by an outside agency.

The association’s move follows an order from B.C. Provincial Court Judge Peder Gulbransen unsealing the information provided to obtain the warrant to search the home of Grant Wakefield.

In March, Wakefield gave police information about the personal activities of Sgt. James Brown.

That information included an account that Wakefield said was given to him by a young woman who said she met with Brown over lunch after connecting through an online dating site.

She claimed they discussed sexual fantasies in his police car and he told her about websites where he could be contacted.

After looking at the sites — which featured bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism — Wakefield forwarded some photos of Brown from the sites to the Coquitlam RCMP.

The RCMP then began a Code of Conduct investigation. That probe is now complete and a final package is being assembled, which will be sent to the commanding officer for review and any decisions on discipline.

The media got wind of the story in July and published the photos. Soon after, an article was posted online criticizing the media for misidentifying Brown in some photos.

Someone commented, making negative allegations about Brown. The person also emailed the author of the article, making similar allegations. Around the same time, someone opened a Twitter account and posted more comments.

Police are investigating whether these comments are defamatory libel and allege that Wakefield was the source.

On July 9, Wakefield reported receiving threatening text messages from someone who know he had been speaking to the RCMP about Brown.

The New Westminster police investigated. It was during that probe that New West police officers noticed that Wakefield had two computers, an iPad and an iPhone in his home.

That information made its way to E-Division, serious-crime investigators, who ended up searching Wakefield’s home Aug. 18 and seizing those items.

“When Mr. Wakefield received threats against his life after bringing his information about Jim Brown to the RCMP, he called 9-1-1. When the New West police responded, they spied on him, gathering information about his computers and providing that information to the RCMP,” David Eby, executive director of the BCCLA, said in a news release.

The association alleges that the RCMP neglected its duty to investigate the threats against Wakefield, improperly seized Wakefield’s property, improperly searched Wakefield’s home and misused resources to investigate Wakefield, conduct the search and seal the court file.

It is also alleged that the officers who searched Wakefield’s home did not conduct themselves properly.

In addition to providing information to police, Wakefield was also helping disgruntled RCMP officers post their views on a blog.

An RCMP spokesman refused to comment on the BCCLA’s request.

http://www.theprovince.com/RCMP+improperly+investigated+informant+says+civil+liberties+group/7473264/story.html#ixzz2Arw8h1j4

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