Death to sarcasm. Now that
thatís out of the way, monthly letters changes gears on its original purpose:
showing you how difficult it can be to get the awesome and powerful to
meaningfully respond to the little guy.
Here Iíll let you in
mid-stream in our search for what we feel must be an open record. We seek the
police report which recommended no charges against Kelowna RCMP over the
handling of the Shannon Murrin investigation.
First the RCMP in Ottawa
denied its release. Then it asked that the investigators, Victoria Police
Department, also deny its release. Following is the letter appealing the
RCMPís decision to withhold the record. Note the date: the only response has
been receipt of the letter.
It should be noted that
the Capital News has been told the report, once made public, will clearly
exonerate the Kelowna RCMP. But only by its presence in the public domain, where
you can see it, can this rest either way.
Iíll pass on anything I
get. Iíll also let you know if anything comes in from Charlton Heston and the
NRA (two months now) and Walter Gray on Harvey Avenue traffic lights (four weeks
April, 2, 2001
The Capital News has tried
over the course of six months to get information about an investigation into how
local RCMP handled the investigation into a young girlís death.
The investigation on these
aspects was conducted by Victoria Police Department at the request of RCMP E
Division. The report, which did not recommend any charges, was then given to the
The RCMP refused our
request for the report saying in defence of its exemptions that it was "VPDís
report. It is not the RCMPís to give".
Victoria Police Department
spent weeks severing the information contained in the executive summary of the
report and was comfortable with releasing its version. But the RCMP asked that
it be severed beyond any comprehension and it subsequently wasnít released.
I donít know federal
Access to Information legislation intimately, but I do know about the murder of
Mindy Tran and the incredible scars it has left on the city of Kelowna.
A man was tried but not
convicted. The RCMP was accused of several misdeeds in its investigation
including withholding evidence, tampering with witnesses and the severe beating
of the only suspect by men connected to the police investigation.
We are told these matters
did not merit criminal charges and are easily explainable, but we are not told
why or how. Plenty of questions remain unanswered.
The release of this
document has the potential to clear the air over these allegations once and for
This is not a source of my
frustration alone. Some officers in Kelowna and E division headquarters say they
want these reports made public, as well.
It may be hard to impress
upon the minds in Ottawa RCMP or Information Commissioners the importance of
this case and what it means to Kelowna. I submit that the importance of
transparency of justice and the publicís right and need to know the truth
exceeds the bounds of sections 13, 16 and 19 used to exempt the information from
Please intervene as soon
as possible or advise me as to how I may proceed.