This appearance by the OPP’s commissioner before a committee of the Legislature this morning was extraordinary. It will also ensure no one is ever charged over this deleted emails horseshit.
1. The constitutional rights of whomever was facing scrutiny have been trampled. The top cop and the Opposition speculating, in public, about jail time and charges? This thing is over. In the unlikely event anyone is ever charged, they’ll argue section 7, 11 and have the thing tossed in about five minutes.
2. There is no offence, here. Mischief? Seriously? The only reason the publicity-hound heading the OPP would mention that section of the Criminal Code is because he knows it is not a crime in Ontario to delete emails. And mischief? To meet the requirements of the relevant section of the Code, there has to be destruction of data, arguably done here. But it also has to have been “willful.” And that requires a high degree of mens rea – that is, a malicious intent. Here, there was no law. And I wouldn’t consider this practice – the widespread, routine and regularized deletion of emails – to be in any way malicious. To wit, got a paper shredder in your executive offices, Commish? Of course you do. Gonna charge yourself with mischief? I’d like to.
3. The OPP has been acting like Gomery Redux. For months, the OPP has been leaking like a sieve about this “investigation” to a cop reporter at the Ottawa Citizen, who has been dutifully writing reports that equate the routine deletion of emails with, say, murder. In the (again) unlikely event this crap ever goes before a judge, the accused’s lawyers will have a dozen examples of how the OPP – like Gomery – showed a reasonable apprehension of bias in their dealings with the press. It’ll get tossed.
Again, this entire thing is a frigging joke. No one will ever be charged, because nothing wrong was ever done.
I have half a mind to make a complaint to the OIPRD. I think I just might, too.