Seeking answers
Report will give community closure

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 now).

April, 2, 2001
Tower "b", Place de Ville
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario
John Reid, Information Commissioner,

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 RCMP.

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 all.

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 public disclosure.

Please intervene as soon as possible or advise me as to how I may proceed.

Thank you.

Marshall Jones,