Victoria police chief to decide own authority over discipline hearing

Police officer, lawyer challenge possible conflict of interest

VicPD Chief Jamie Graham will get a chance to decide whether he should be the discipline authority against one of his officers, a judge decided this week.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Ballance ruled Wednesday Graham hadn’t yet decided who would be the discipline authority in a hearing on Const. Jason Ince’s actions.

Ince arrested Kevin John Vigar on June 27, 2009. Vigar died in VicPD’s cells. A Police Act investigation concluded he and Const. Jana Hardy neglected their duties that day when they failed to notice he had consumed a large amount of alcohol in the police van en route to the jail.

If Graham decides he is the appropriate discipline authority for Ince’s hearing, Ince and lawyer David Mulroney will take their case back to court, Mulroney said.

“If the chief rules he’s not conflicted … we’d seek a review of that hearing to undo the results,” he said. “We think we’re entitled to someone who has no (conflict of) interest in the matter.”

Mulroney added it’s his understanding Graham has four times relayed his intention to remain discipline authority at Ince’s hearing – after two letters between him and Ince last summer, in a response to Ince’s petition to the court, and in the latest scheduling for the hearing.

“(Graham) has the right to delegate that (authority) to another officer or to an outside chief. But he organized a date with (himself) as the discipline authority, so to argue he hasn’t made a decision is a bit hard for me to understand,” Mulroney said.

Ince’s initial petition to the Supreme Court alleged Graham was biased and didn’t provide officers with adequate training.

ecardone@vicnews.com