Thursday, April 12, 2018

Military Police Complaints Commission opens an investigation

Further to Col. Michel Drapeau's post of earlier today, the Military Police Complaints Commission has opened a public interest investigation into the allegations made by Jeffrey Beamish, a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces. The commission's detailed decision can be found here. Its announcement reads as follows:
The Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) is conducting a Public Interest Investigation (PII) into a historical complaint that alleges torture and abuse of former CAF members.

In December 2016, the MPCC received a complaint from counsel for Mr. Jeffrey Beamish, a former CAF member. The complaint relates to a CFNIS investigation into alleged torture during training exercises that occurred at the Infantry Battle School at CFB Wainwright between October 1983 and March 1984.

Mr. Beamish alleges that while participating in an exercise that included a Prisoner of War scenario, he and approximately 32 other recruits were stripped and placed in prison cells that were too small to allow them to move or sit. The complaint further alleges that, over the following 24 to 48 hours, the naked recruits were sprayed through the jail door bars with cold water from a hose while the windows were left open, letting in the outside air. It is alleged that the temperature outside was between -15°C and -30°C.

The complaint alleges that this exercise resulted in Mr. Beamish suffering from major depressive disorder, PTSD, night terrors, paranoia and adjustment issues.

Mr. Beamish made a complaint to the Military Police (MP), who referred the matter to the CFNIS. In August 2016, the CFNIS member in charge of conducting the investigation called the complainant to advise him that the investigation was closed.

The complaint is about the conduct and performance of the CFNIS investigator and specifically alleges “professional negligence, incompetence, and failing to investigate serious criminal allegations.”

On April 11, 2018, Hilary McCormack, Chairperson of the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada, decided that the MPCC will conduct a Public Interest Investigation into this complaint. She also noted that other CFNIS members were involved in the decision to close the CFNIS investigation, and identified them, as well as the CFNIS investigator, as subjects of the complaint.

Updates on the progress of the investigation will be posted in the "Timeline".

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