Police chief seeks order to stop investigation into his conduct

Chief Elsner has filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court, seeking an order to stop the external investigation into his conduct

It’s been three months since Victoria’s police chief Frank Elsner voluntarily stepped aside for an external investigation into his conduct on social media.

Now Elsner has filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court, seeking an order to stop the investigation and prohibit the chief superintendent from taking further action.

In court documents filed earlier this week, Elsner claims police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe has no authority to order an external investigation in relation to conduct that had already been investigated internally. He also claims Lowe relied on irrelevant and/or extraneous considerations in issuing the order, including media reports with respect to his conduct.

All the drama began last August when the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board launched an internal investigation after a concern was brought to their attention regarding private messages that were exchanged on Twitter between Elsner and the wife (a female officer from Saanich) of an officer under his command.

An independent lawyer investigated the matter and concluded there was no inappropriate relationship, but there was inappropriate use of direct messaging and social media. What those messages said has not been revealed.

The police board voted to keep Elsner on as chief and imposed undisclosed discipline, but a report on the investigation was sent to the Office of the Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) — a civilian watchdog that oversees police conduct — to determine whether it was necessary to order a public trust investigation into the matter.

Lowe ordered two public trust investigations — one of them involving allegations of workplace harassment. The investigations were to be completed within six months, with Chief Superintendent Sean Bourrie of the RCMP assigned as chief investigator, along with a team of senior officers from the Vancouver police.

In the supreme court petition, Elsner makes a number of claims, noting he only consented with the appointment of an independent investigator to conduct the internal investigation and was advised the matter would be kept confidential.

The preliminary report from that investigation also addresses allegations that Elsner spoke to two witnesses connected to the investigation. The independent investigator found Elsner contacted those individuals namely to have his Twitter account shut down, and wanted to apologize for putting them in a difficult position.

“His conduct did not affect the integrity of the investigation,” the petition states.

As for the external investigation, the petition notes it basically relates to the same issues as the internal investigation, but Bourrie has taken steps to search various electronic devices and phone records. His rank, however, is not equivalent to or higher than Elsner’s, therefore he does not have authority for the RCMP as a whole.

Since they made the internal discipline decision, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps have been named as the respondents in the petition. The co-chairs of the police board have 21 days to reply.

editor@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

Victoria BC Transit driver taken to hospital after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Art takes a personal tone during the 110th anniversary of the Victoria Sketch Club

The 47th annual art show is taking place until March 24

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Most Read