Supreme Court of Canada decides the Schaeffer v. Wood decision – December 19, 2013
Ian’s Time at the SIU in the News – December 12 & 13, 2013
In two recent articles in the Toronto Star, my letters pointing out non-cooperation issues with the Toronto Police Service have been in the news. On Thursday, December 12, 2013, the Star published an article entitled ‘Letters Reveal SIU-Blair Conflict’ which discussed the more than one hundred letters I sent to Chief Blair outlining alleged breaches to the SIU regulation to the Police Services Act.
The Star followed up with a front page article in its Saturday December 14th edition entitled ‘Police Board Keeps Chief’s SIU Investigations Secret’. The article discusses how the chief and the board keep its internal reviews of SIU incidents confidential even though the board has the power to release them with certain identifiers removed.
And here’s a link to this article
University of Western Ontario Toronto Lecture Series – November 29, 2013
On Friday November 29th, I spoke to a group of University of Western Ontario alumni at the Toronto Reference Library on the topic of ‘Who Is Policing the Police?’ organized by the University’s Department of Alumni Relations and Development. I talked for fifty minutes about the larger context of police oversight, the SIU, other methods of police oversight and trends across Canada. This was followed by many questions that created a dialogue with the approximately fifty participants lasting another forty-five minutes. Judging by the number of incisive questions, the alumni who attended have an acute interest in the issue of civilian oversight of the police.
Ian Speaks at Adjudicator and Prosecution Seminar – November 22, 2013
On Friday, November 22nd, I spoke to police disciplinary prosecutors and adjudicators at the the Annual Adjudicator and Prosecution Seminar held in Orillia on ‘Prosecuting Police Services Act Cases’. Topics covered included preparing for the hearing, examining and cross-examining witnesses, closing submissions and the penalty phase. The audience was high ranking police officers and lawyers involved in professional standards from police agencies throughout Ontario.
ALOC Luncheon Keynote Speaker – November 18, 2013
On November 18, 2013, I was the keynote speaker at the Association of Law Officers of the Crown (‘ALOC’) fall conference held at the White Oaks Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This conference of 450 Ontario government civil lawyers takes place annually. The topic of the talk was ‘Promoting Confidence in Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit’. Over the years, there has been a lot of cross-over between the SIU and the civil lawyers due to litigation related to the Unit. On the basis of the number and quality of questions asked by the attending lawyers, I believe the talk was well received. My article entitled ‘Reforming Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit’ was just published in the most recent edition of the Criminal Law Quarterly. In October, I completed a five year term as the Unit’s Director. The article discusses the role of the SIU as the investigative body when police are involved in on-duty incidents of death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault, and then makes recommendations to improve its ability to conduct these investigations. In a nutshell, the article recommends strengthening the Unit’s independence by making it an office of the Legislature, ensuring police officers’ notes are truly independent, and police witness interviews are not influenced by external information. Further, it suggests a legislated definition of ‘serious injury’. Finally, there should be a mechanism for the SIU to address misconduct that is not criminal and police services’ failure to cooperate with the Unit. These recommendations are made with a view to strengthening public confidence in the SIU, which will, in turn, strengthen confidence in policing itself.
The full citation for the article is Ian Scott, ‘Reforming Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit’ (2013), 60 Criminal Law Quarterly 190.