The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board takes this opportunity to advise of the April 12, 2017 decision of Chief Justice Hinkson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in connection with the investigation into the conduct of Chief Constable Frank Elsner.
Chief Justice Hinkson’s decision confirms that Mayor Barb Desjardins and Mayor Lisa Helps, in their capacity as Internal Discipline Authorities in respect of the Internal Investigation of Chief Frank Elsner, did consult with the Police Complaint Commissioner and did receive his advice and direction as appropriate. The Chief Justice found that the Mayors' Internal Investigation under the direction of the Commissioner was completed, and is final.
“We have been accused since December 2015 of ‘botching our investigation’ into Chief Elsner's conduct”, said Mayor Helps. “Our investigation and the process we followed has now been held by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to be final. It is noted that in his decision, the Chief Justice observed we undertook the investigation with the advice and guidance of the Commissioner.”
The question before Chief Justice Hinkson was whether the Police Act gives the Commissioner the authority to re-investigate and re-adjudicate a matter that has been dealt with in an Internal Discipline process.
Chief Justice Hinkson held that the Commissioner is entitled to order an external investigation into the activities of Chief Elsner but only in respect of matters beyond the scope of the Internal Investigation and discipline decision of the Mayors. The Chief Justice found that the Commissioner exceeded his jurisdiction and his re-investigation and re-adjudication was an abuse of process.
“We are anxious for a final resolution and join our citizens in their concern over this lengthy and costly process that has gone on now for over 16 months,” said Mayor Helps. “While an important issue has been resolved, this process continues in the hands of the Police Complaint Commissioner.”
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Mayor Lisa Helps, Co-Chair Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board