St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador – RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador (RCMP NL) today announced the outcome of Project Brave, an investigation into alleged breach of trust by a former Cabinet Minister and a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary police officer. Assistant Commissioner Ches Parsons, Commanding Officer of RCMP NL, and Sergeant Adam Palmer, Federal Policing Team Leader, provided details of the investigation and advised that no criminal charges will be laid.
The investigation began in March of 2020, when a complaint was received that the Minister had shared contents of a confidential Cabinet document with someone external to the Cabinet, allegedly committing the criminal offence of breach of trust by a public official. The document in question contained information on recommendations for Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) Commissioned Officer Appointments, essentially senior promotions within the RNC. It was alleged that the Cabinet Minister shared the information with a member of the RNC prior to it being considered by Cabinet.
“Project Brave addressed this complaint with a complete and thorough investigation led by RCMP Federal Policing,” said Assistant Commissioner Parsons. “All avenues were pursued to ensure a robust response to the complaint. We also engaged the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service as an additional measure to ensure the independence and integrity of the investigation.”
“The investigation included examination of the actions of both the former Minister and the RNC police officer, a review of cell phone records and other evidence, and interviews with 41 individuals,” said Sergeant Palmer. “While the investigation confirmed that the contents of a confidential Cabinet document were shared, after reviewing all of the evidence and taking into consideration the elements required to obtain a conviction, the decision was made to not pursue criminal charges.”
The prospect of conviction on such a charge must include an examination of the purpose or benefit to the accused. The investigation found that neither party benefitted in any significant way, financial or otherwise, through the sharing of the contents of the confidential document. Neither was there any attempt to influence or change a decision of Cabinet with the sharing.
Based on the evidence gathered, relevant legislation, the totality of the investigation and the opinion of Senior Crown Counsel of Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service, there is no realistic prospect of conviction on the charge of breach of trust by a public official and, therefore, no charges will be laid.
SIRT-NL, as the police oversight agency for the province, was provided with regular updates by the investigative team and has been provided with a final report of the investigation.
SIRT-NL’s role is to conduct an independent and objective review of the investigation to ensure it was conducted properly and that investigators used best practices and took all investigative steps appropriate in the circumstances. SIRT-NL also assesses whether there is any evidence of bias, tunnel vision or lack of objectivity on the part of the investigating agency. This is to ensure the public has trust in the investigation and its consequences.
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