Justice minister apparently briefed on SIRT investigation

James McLeod
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Outside force investigating RNC for criminal wrongdoing

Ron MacDonald, director of the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team says he’s unbothered by media reports about an criminal investigation involving senior members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

Andrew Parsons.

On Wednesday evening, CBC News reported that SIRT was called in to Newfoundland and Labrador in November to conduct an investigation relating to criminal wrongdoing by senior members of the constabulary.

MacDonald confirmed that he’s been in the province and investigators came back to keep working after Christmas.

According to the CBC report, the matter concerns a criminal informant working for the RNC, who “continued to commit crimes without being arrested — even though some of the incidents were witnessed by police officers.”

MacDonald said that the investigation is relatively complex, and so he can’t give a clear timeline of how long it will take to complete.

“It’ll be a matter of some months before it’s concluded. I can’t really say how many,” he said.

If such an investigation was taking place in Nova Scotia, MacDonald said that at the end of it there would be a public report filed by the SIRT.

In this case, though, the report will be delivered to the Department of Justice and Public Safety and it will be up to the government to decide whether to make it public.

It appears that Justice and Public Safety Minister Andrew Parsons was briefed on this matter in December, shortly after he assumed the role as minister.

In briefing notes obtained by The Telegram through access to information, there is a two-page note about SIRT, referencing the fact that MacDonald recently visited the province to meet with officials in the Department of Justice and Public Safety as well as RNC and RCMP leadership.

“Recently, a number of high profile cases in the province have raised concerns about whether the police can legitimately and impartially conduct criminal investigations into its own members or whether the RCMP and RNC can impartially conduct criminal investigations into the other force’s members,” the briefing note says. “These concerns come under greater scrutiny in cases where police actions have resulted in serious injury or death.”

The two preceeding pages of Parsons’ briefing materials are completely redacted. The department cited several sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act to justify the redactions, including a section which states that releasing the information could “reveal the identity of a confidential source of law enforcement information or reveal information provided by that source with respect to a law enforcement matter” and also “harm the conduct of existing or imminent legal proceedings.”

Parsons refused a request for an interview.

A spokesman emailed a statement from Parsons to the Telegram.

“I am respecting the investigative process that is currently underway and I am presently unable to comment on the specifics of the allegations that have been brought forward. However, I look forward to addressing this matter once that investigation is complete. It is of paramount importance to this government that the public have confidence in the administration of justice in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Organizations: CBC, Department of Justice and Public Safety, RCMP The Telegram

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Oh my
    January 15, 2016 - 07:29

    Parsons will be like all the rest. It was easy to be "ambitious" as an Opposition MHA. Now he has what he wanted!

    • We , the electorate of NL, will be vigilant over the moves of our politicians.
      January 15, 2016 - 12:24

      If Andrew Parsons is in tune with the feelings of the electorate of his province knowing full well that we, the electorate, have NOT received anything close to Good Governance over the past 68 years under the Canadian system of governance by our politicians, both Federal and Provincial whom we elected, then MR. PARSONS WILL GOVERN only in an Honest and Forthright manner and so will the other 39 MHAs and 7 MPs. The Electorate's eyes will be forever monitoring the way we are being governed and rightfully so after being shafted for 68 years out of the vibrant benefits from our coveted Natural Resources and Prime Location, benefits that greatly enhanced other Canadian provinces' economies and population bases. We promise we will not let down our guard for one minute. After saying what I said I do believe thoug Mr. Parsons has an honest conscience and will do only what is right and proper.

  • Bob
    January 14, 2016 - 13:04

    Parsons is number one, and the Liberal Party is adamant on transparency. Now we wait.

  • Stephen  Redgrave
    Stephen Redgrave
    January 14, 2016 - 12:06

    It's good to see Andrew Parsons involved in this investigation. I've watched Andrew in action as opposition jousting with Jerome Kennedy. Andrew kicked his proverbial butt. I'll be watching Mr Parsons in the hope he keeps this kind of ambitious demeanor.

    • We Demand Complete Honest Governance!
      January 14, 2016 - 12:40

      STEPHEN, I Agree! I hope we will get complete honesty and thus better governance from this batch of politicians. At least they must be aware now that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are sick of non-honesty and are DEMANDING that the politicians do what we elected them to do.

    • John Smith
      January 14, 2016 - 19:43

      LOl surely you jest...Andy parsons kicking someones butt? Kicking Jerome kennedy's butt a hardened trial lawyer..kissing it maybe...but no...not kicking it...this Investigation began when the PCs were in power...not by Andy ...or the Liberals...oh...and good to see the Liberals are doing lots of redacting and turning down interviews right off the hop...this bodes well...LOL