The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) published their 1,000-page Final Report into the Public Interest Hearings surrounding the 2008 suicide death of Corporal Stuart Langridge.
“The Commission found significant deficiencies in the investigations conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (NIS) and unacceptable errors in the way the Military Police interacted with the Fynes, particularly in the mishandling of Cpl Langridge’s suicide note,” said Glenn Stannard, Chair of the MPCC.
The Public Interest Hearing was extensive. The Commission heard testimony from some 90 witnesses over 60 days of hearings. Over 22,000 pages of documentary material were entered into evidence. The Commission received detailed written submissions from the Parties and heard oral closing submissions in January 2013.
The MPCC Final Report found the CAF military police had made serious errors. The report makes 46 recommendations, aimed at improving the quality and supervision of military police investigations and strengthening the military police’s independence. But the MPCC says the vast majority (80%) of them were either rejected or ignored by the Department of National Defence – a response Langridge’s mother, Sheila Fynes, called “condescending and arrogant."
She and her husband are advocating for a “complete overhaul” of the military justice system so that non-combat, sudden death investigations should be handled by an arms-length police force and a civilian coroner. “I think that would go a long way to ensure some kind of transparency and honesty for the families,” Mr. Fynes said.
On March 11, 2015
In the wake of the publication of the MPCC Final Report, Canada's national newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen. publishes a scathing Editorial:titled: “The appalling treatment of a soldier’s family”
Throughout these long years, the Fyneses were treated with disrespect. And that disrespect continues, as the military police have rejected or given non-committal responses to most of the commission’s recommendations — and sought to keep their response secret, although the police claim that was merely a dispute about how the response was to be presented.
The Canadian Forces have given Canadians no reason for confidence in its ability to help soldiers with PTSD, to investigate soldier suicides properly, to communicate with family members respectfully and to keep the public informed. This appalling case just keeps getting worse, and new Defence Minister Jason Kenney must either fix this sorry state of affairs or answer for it.Accompanied by counsel Mr and Mrs Fynes appeared on CTV Canada AM public affairs program on March 11, 2015