Canadian Military Prosecution Service Complaints Policy
DMP Policy Directive
Directive #: 018/18
Date: 5 September 2018
Cross Reference: Post-Charge Review, Responding to Victims’ Needs, Plea, Trial and Sentence Resolution Discussions, Witness Interviews
Subject: Canadian Military Prosecution Service Complaints Policy
Application of Policy
1. This policy sets out the procedure for the submission and resolution of complaints in respect of those duties and functions performed by Prosecutors with the Canadian Military Prosecution Service (CMPS). It applies to all Prosecutors with the CMPS who have had a complaint made against them or who are responsible for the investigation and resolution of a complaint.1
2. The CMPS assists the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and its members in the maintenance of the discipline, efficiency and morale of the CAF by prosecuting service offences with diligence and in a manner that is fair, impartial and objective. In doing so, the CMPS is guided by its key objectives of improving public confidence in the court martial process and in maintaining a productive work environment supporting prosecutorial independence, discretion, initiative, decisiveness and trust.
3. On occasion, a member of the CAF or a member of the Canadian public may feel as though they have been treated unfairly by a procedure, practice or policy of the CMPS or that a Prosecutor with the CMPS has not conducted him or herself in accordance with CMPS policies or directives. In such cases, that individual may wish to initiate a formal complaint for resolution. This policy sets out the procedure for making a complaint and details the process for the timely resolution of all complaints.2
Statement of Policy
4. The CMPS shall ensure that all complaints are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner thereby helping to maintain public confidence in the administration of military justice.
Procedure - Submission of a Complaint
5. All complaints must be submitted in writing, in either official language, to the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions at:
Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions
National Defence Headquarters
101 Colonel By Drive
6. In those cases where the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions determines that it would not be appropriate for him or her to respond, the complaint shall be forwarded to the Director of Military Prosecutions for investigation and resolution.
7. All complaints directed against the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions or any of the Deputy Directors of Military Prosecutions must be made to the Director of Military Prosecutions.
8. Once a complaint has been received the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions shall send a letter of acknowledgement to the complainant within five working days of receipt of the complaint.
9. All complaints must include the following information:
- Complainant’s name and contact information;
- All relevant information concerning the complaint in order to allow for a thorough review of the complaint and determination of the most appropriate manner of resolution.
10.Complaints made by a victim of a service offence alleging any failure by a Prosecutor to abide by any policy or directive promulgated by the Director of Military Prosecutions must identify the applicable policy or directive and provide specific information regarding the conduct of the Prosecutor giving rise to the complaint. Examples include:
- Failing to inform the victim about key prosecutorial decisions;
- Not consulting with the victim regarding their views on jurisdiction;
- Failing to seek input from the victim before accepting a plea in exchange for recommending a reduced sentence to the military judge;
- Not treating the victim with courtesy, sensitivity or respect during witness interviews; and
- Improperly disclosing personal information to the accused.
11. Where a specific Prosecutor is the subject of a complaint, he or she shall receive a copy of the complaint made against him or her. The Prosecutor shall be afforded a reasonable period of time to respond before a response to the complainant has been prepared. Any specific Prosecutor who is the subject of a complaint shall receive any written reply provided to the complainant.
12. In determining an appropriate response, the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions may seek further clarification from the complainant and may consult with the Prosecutor, the appropriate Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions or any other individual, as necessary.
13. In those cases where the complaint is found to be justified, the complainant shall be informed of the action to be taken to remedy the complaint. Complainants shall not be informed of any specific action taken against a Prosecutor which would be in violation of a Prosecutor’s privacy rights in accordance with the Privacy Act.
14. Where possible, all complainants shall receive a written response within forty days of the complaint being received. If the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions is not able to provide a response within forty days, he or she shall notify the complainant and provide a written explanation for the delay.
15. Complainants dissatisfied with the response of the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions may request that the complaint be reviewed by the Director of Military Prosecutions. Such requests must be made within one month of the date of the response of the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions.
Scope of the Complaint
16. A complaint may be made in respect of any CMPS service, procedure, practice or policy as well as the conduct of any Prosecutor within CMPS. The following will not be addressed as complaints under this policy:
- Criticisms of a court decision;
- Concerns expressed in respect of the military justice system that do not fall under the mandate of the CMPS, including the Canadian Armed Forces National Investigation Service, the military police or other investigative units;3
- Concerns regarding legislation or any associated regulations;
- Allegations of malicious prosecutions;
- Internal grievances from CMPS personnel including Prosecutors and civilian staff – both former and present; or
- Abusive, frivolous or vexatious complaints.
17. Any complaints made against the Director of Military Prosecutions do not fall within the scope of this policy and must be made directly to the Director of Military Prosecution Inquiry Committee in accordance with article 101.13 of the Queen’s Orders and Regulations.
Referral of Complaint to Provincial Law or Territorial Societies
18. A complaint may, at the discretion of the Director of Military Prosecutions, be referred to the Prosecutor’s provincial or territorial law society. In any case where the Director of Military Prosecutions decides to refer the complaint to a law society, he or she shall cause the complainant and the Prosecutor to be notified.
19. Referring a complaint to the Prosecutor’s provincial or territorial law society shall not preclude the investigation and resolution of the complaint through this policy directive.
20. Nothing in this policy directive purports to prevent anyone from filing a complaint directly with a provincial or territorial law society.
Availability of This Policy Statement
22. This policy statement is a public document and is available to members of the CAF and to the public.
1 Any reference in this policy to "Prosecutor" or "Prosecutors" refers to those officers who have been appointed to assist and represent the Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) in the exercise of the powers given to the DMP by sections 165.11 to 165.13 of the National Defence Act and subject to any limitations as set out in the Canadian Military Prosecution Service Policy Manual.
2 This Policy mirrors the requirement of all Canadian civilian prosecution services contained in section 25 of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights to address complaints made by or on behalf of victims of crime.
3 Complaints in respect of the conduct of Canadian Armed Forces National Investigation Service, the military police or other investigative units will be forwarded to the appropriate investigative agency.
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