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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

6/27/2004

In which I am nearly arrested and discover the RCMP complaints process

Come Election Day I may be blogging from jail. Well, actually I doubt it but I have just had the rather harrowing experience of being accused of uttering a threat. And, no, I did not do it but that is what they all say.

What was fascinating is that this arose as a result of a commercial dispute on a $1000 worth of web work. The person I was working for in exchange for accomodation at the Madrona Lodge refused to pay either her outstanding balance or continue to provide the agreed accomodation. The wife, on hearing the word invoice began to scream "Are you threatening me. Are you threatening me." I told her not to speak to me using that language and I pointed my finger at her. "I am phoning the police. I am phoning the police." I said, Go ahead.

So she did.

The Mountie managed to decide on the basis of hearing her side of the story and not asking me a single question that I had uttered threats. What threats, I asked. He would not say. What he would say was utterly outrageous. He stated to me that my choice was to be arrested on this very serious charge or to vacate the cabin in which my family and I have been living immediately.

I suggested to him that this was improper as he was using the threat of arrest to force me to prejudice my rights in a civil dispute. He was obdurate saying that was my choice.

I managed to convince him to speak with Susan my spouse who had seen and heard - as did most of the Island - some of the inccident. He at first refused but later agreed to. However, he stated, "I know what she will say, shw will say the wife was the aggressor."

As it happened Susan did not, much to the Constables surprise say that. She merely related shat she had heard which was a lot of female shouting. The Constable was a bit surprised. He now chaged his offer to leave by Monday or I will arrest you.

So I have just spent the day writing a full bore complaint as to the Constables misconduct which I have dispatched to the RCMP Independent Complaints Division.

While I would be surprised if anything came from this threat it is vital to complain in this sort of circumstance. As I said in my complaint,

At no time did I suggest to that some sort of “deal” could be worked out. Instead it was Constable who first made the offer of “no arrest” if you leave today and then, “no arrest” if you leave Monday.

Leaving aside the coercive elements outlined at Issue #1, I submit that Constable coming up with and presenting this sort of deal in a civil dispute well exceeded his authority. His remit is to investigate crimes and make arrests where there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed.

What Constable has done is, in the first instance, abandoned reasonable and probable grounds as the basis for laying a charge and substituted “willingness to leave the premises today”. In the second instance, the basis would become, “failed to comply with agreement to leave premises by Monday.” In neither case will the reasonable and probable grounds have changed one bit.

Essentially Constable is using his power to arrest as a lever to force a “deal”. I submit this is a gross abuse of Constable authority.
I have ommitted the Constableès name for the moment.


These are the sorts of little things which subtly, but completely, turn a great country into a third world nation where the police are allowed to ignore the rules.

Posting will be light for a day or two in any event; but as you vote tomorrow remember that our politicians are the only people who can ensure that this sort of behaviour is not allowed to spread. The Rule of Law matters.

UpDate:I filed the complaint with the RCMP Independent Public Complaints Commission. The happy news is that it will take between 8 and 10 months!! for it to be investigated. Assuming I am not actually in custody in the next couple of days I will post the complaint in full.

Further Update:I gave Constable Scott Hinderley a copy of the complaint. I suggested to him that he retnk his position as to arresting me on the serious charge of uttering threats. He was obdurate - either I and my family vacate the premises today or he will be up to see me tomorrow. More updates as they happen.