Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips has had her latest appeal against the Lethbridge Police Service denied by the Law Enforcement Review Board.
In this case which goes back five years, Ms Phillips filed the appeal when she was unhappy with the disciplinary decisions to demote two officers who spied on her in a Lethbridge diner back in April of 2017. One of the officers took surreptitious photographs of her and then posted them to social media.
At the time, Phillips had been the province’s Environment Minister under an NDP government, and the officers were allegedly unhappy with her decision to ban off-road vehicles in the Castle region of the southern Alberta’s Rockies.
Sergeant Jason Carrier and former Constable Keon Woroniuk, who has since resigned, faced disciplinary hearings in 2020 and received demotions for a period of two years. But Phillips wasn’t happy with the decision, arguing that the penalty was outside of presiding officer Paul Manuel’s jurisdiction and that Manuel, who is a retired Calgary Police Superintendent, made a penalty decision that was unreasonable as it was reached on the basis of joint submissions by the two officers. Phillips also argued that his decision did not provide an explanation for the withdrawal of disciplinary charges, that it failed to consider the Charter and Criminal Code, and failed to recognize her status as a cabinet minister.
The board, however, dismissed the appeal determining that Philllips did not establish that the disciplinary process was tainted, flawed, grossly inadequate or unreasonable.
BCN spoke with Lethbridge Police Association President Jay McMillan about the decision.
“She made an application for appeal based on 15 points of contention. And it’s nice to know as a result of the LERB here, to know that that those 15 points of contention were dismissed without merit. All 15 I should add,” he says.
McMillan went on to say that among her points of contention raised was the notion that three different police services conducted in appropriate or inadequate investigations.
“I think to have those refuted by the Law Enforcement Review Board is appropriate.
“It’s a bit validating, not necessary of our officers or of any misconduct that did occur, but a validation of the process and that there’s sone integrity in it.”
BCN reached out to MLA Phillips’ office for comment but did not hear back from her.
The LERB decision can be viewed here: https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/ablerb/doc/2022/2022ablerb4/2022ablerb4.html