Case Summary: Decision to launch public hearing into transit officer’s assault of a black student in 2011 was restored
Police Commissioner’s notice of public hearing into complaint regarding transit officer’s assault of black student six years earlier was initially quashed due to delay, but was restored by Court of Appeal.
Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Police Commission – Judicial review – Appeals – Procedural requirements and fairness – Delay – Public hearings – Natural justice – Standard of review – Reasonableness – Abuse of process; Police – Disciplinary proceedings – Professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming – Criminal record
Diaz-Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Police Complaint Commissioner),  B.C.J. No. 1193, 2020 BCCA 221, British Columbia Court of Appeal, July 30, 2020, H. Groberman, L.A. Fenlon and J. DeWitt-Van Oosten JJ.A.
In 2017, the Police Commissioner ordered a public inquiry following lengthy disciplinary proceedings and multiple investigations involving a transit police officer who, in 2011, violently assaulted a 22-year-old black university student suspected of fare evasion. The judicial review judge found the decision to order a public inquiry into the incident/complaint to be unreasonable and an abuse of process given the delay involved, and quashed it. The Commissioner’s appeal was allowed. The length of delay and extent of the personal or psychological prejudice to the officer in this case did not meet the high standard to be considered abuse of process. The chambers judge also failed to consider the significant competing public interest in having this incident addressed at a public hearing in full accordance with the civilian police oversight provisions of the Police Act. The Court of Appeal restored the notice of public hearing.
This case was digested by Kara Hill, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter. If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Kara Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.