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Inquiry will probe handling of Arkinstall case

An inquiry will be held into how authorities responded to allegations of perjury and assault involving two Calgary Police Service (CPS) officers. 

The Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB) will hold an inquiry to examine whether there were any efforts to hinder public oversight of officers involved in the arrest of Jason Cyrus Arkinstall during a traffic stop in August 2008.

“It’s critical to ensure that the public has confidence in Alberta’s police and civilian oversight bodies. Holding an inquiry will allow this case to be examined in full view of the public.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

This inquiry is being held in response to concerns raised by the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association, the Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Police Commission following an investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT). The inquiry will operate independently from the current criminal proceedings against Sgt. Les Kaminski and Const. Brant Derrick, who are presumed to be innocent.

“We very much welcome this inquiry and will support it unconditionally. Public trust and confidence are the cornerstone of community policing. In my opinion, the most appropriate way to achieve this in relation to this matter is through a full and transparent inquiry by the Law Enforcement Review Board.”

Roger Chaffin, chief of police, Calgary Police Service 

“The Calgary Police Commission fully supports an inquiry into this matter, and believes this is the most appropriate way to address the concerns raised by the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association. It is a priority for the commission to ensure that the civilian oversight framework operates with fairness, efficiency, and transparency.”

Brian Thiessen, chair, Calgary Police Commission

“The Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association is very pleased the Government of Alberta is moving forward with this inquiry. This is a historic occasion in civilian oversight of the police in this province, as an inquiry by the Law Enforcement Review Board has never happened before. Not only will this inquiry be beneficial to the citizens of Calgary, the Calgary Police Service and the administration of justice in Calgary, but it will also well serve all Albertans who value excellent policing services.”

Tom Engel, chair, Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association Policing Committee 

“ASIRT very much welcomes a public inquiry into this matter. An inquiry will ensure a thorough and transparent review of these events, which can only improve public accountability and public confidence.”

Susan D. Hughson, QC., executive director, Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) 

  

Timeline:

  • Aug. 31, 2008: Arkinstall arrested by CPS, charged with uttering threats, resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer
  • Jan. 14, 2011: Provincial court judge acquits Arkinstall of uttering threats (the Crown withdrew charges of resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer at outset of the trial)
  • Feb. 2014: Matter referred to ASIRT for investigation
  • Jan. 17, 2017: ASIRT lays charges against two CPS officers

Inquiry:

The inquiry will examine the time between Arkinstall’s arrest in 2008 and the ASIRT charges in 2017 to determine if any acts or omissions by people with responsibilities connected to policing prevented proper oversight of the case.

It will be up to the LERB to determine how the inquiry will proceed, which will include giving parties involved an opportunity to make submissions on the issue.

The LERB’s primary role is to hear appeals of disciplinary decisions from citizens and police officers, but the minister has authority under the Police Act to direct it to hold public inquiries into policing matters.

Under the Police Act, the LERB has the authority to summon witnesses, as well as order the production of relevant records and documents.

Terms of reference for the inquiry direct it to report to the minister within one year from today. If the inquiry hasn’t concluded within that time, the LERB must provide an estimate of the time it will need to finish and is required to submit its report to the minister within three months of hearing all evidence and submissions.

Background:

Arkinstall was acquitted at trial in 2011. In his reasons for decision, the presiding judge raised concerns about the conduct of the arresting officers.

In 2014, CPS referred the incident to Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s director of law enforcement, who assigned ASIRT to investigate. ASIRT laid charges against Kaminski and Derrick in January 2017.

Current status of criminal proceedings:

Kaminski is awaiting trial on one count of perjury and Derrick will be tried on one count of assault in connection with allegations that surfaced after the officers arrested Arkinstall. 


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