police chief julian fantino was
himself on the stand recently -- on the end of tough questions about his past.
The altercation took place in Edmonton at the discipline hearing of RCMP staff sergeant Bob Stenhouse. The Mountie has admitted leaking materials pertaining to Fantino's national strategy on outlaw motorcycle gangs to author Yves Lavigne. But Stenhouse's lawyer, in-house RCMP defence counsel Anita Szabo, says her client never intended for Lavigne to publish the material in his book Hells Angels At War, and thought he would only use it for background purposes.
During Szabo's often tense cross-examination of Fantino, she raised another infamous example of sensitive police information going public.
ANITA SZABO: Chief Fantino, in 1989 you... disclosed information to the media regarding crime statistics when you were not authorized to do so, correct?
JULIAN FANTINO: That is totally and absolutely erroneous. You are going off on nothing but media hype with misinformation, miscommunication....
Q: You disclosed confidential information relating to crime statistics
A: I did not.
Q: You disclosed it without permission?
A: I did not.
Q: The (police) commissioner defended you in that regard, did he not? He stated that you had made a mistake, but it was in good faith...
A: I... never even spoke with him, so I don't know how he could have commented.
Q: Well, he was quoted in the news reports, sir.
A: I don't think I'm on trial here, am I?
Q: No, sir. But you are evidently talking about a certain course of conduct that it would appear you have already been engaged in yourself?
A: I'm telling you now that your understanding of those issues is flawed. Absolutely.
Q: And yet this was reported all over the media?
A: So does that make it right?
Q: But I understand that you were never counselled for this incident, nor admonished, nor received a written reprimand, nor subjected to any type of any formal discipline.
A: That should tell you and confirm the fact that you're wrong in your assertions. I did nothing wrong.
Q: But in fact, this release of crime statistics was forgiven within your police community?
A: Oh, please. Forgiven nothing. What's there to forgive? I did nothing wrong...
Q: Just on that point, sir. Why would (the) commissioner defend you and state that you had made a mistake but that it was in good faith if in fact you had done nothing wrong?
A: Why don't you call him and find out for yourself? I have no way of entering his mindset or or his knowledge. I'm telling you, I you have to ask him. A lot of people said all kinds of things. Some of them were horrendous, outrageous, totally wrong, malicious.
Q: And if
A: What we're dealing with here, and why I'm here, is to address one critical issue, and that's the betrayal of an oath of secrecy, not by me, by someone else.
Q: But in fact, sir, you did the same thing yourself in 1989. This was raised in your interview for your current
A: I did I did not, and you trying to make it so is not going to be, because this is another one of those exercises in the means justify the ends. I did nothing wrong. I'm not on trial here. I did not release confidential data to anyone.
This is the issue here, and it's got nothing to do with anything I've done in the past. My character's not on the line here, and you trying to make it so isn't right. This is the issue here, and it's got nothing to do with anything I've done in the past. My character's not on the line here, and you trying to make it so isn't right.
Q: Sir, I'm reading from an excerpt from the Toronto Star on Sunday, February 19, 1989. It says here, "A top-ranking police commander has apologized to Metro blacks for the uproar sparked by his release of crime statistics within their community, but staff inspector Julian Fantino, commander of 31 Division, last night stood by his decision to release data on the crimes."
And then they quote:
""I, too, would have considered such presentation inappropriate and dutifully restricted my comments accordingly.' Fantino read from a prepared text. "Obviously this is not the case, and harmful consequences have since surfaced to make the whole process regrettable.'"
A: And that is exactly right. The the apology was for the hurt that was caused to the community and the fact that the the release of that information should have been controlled by the chairman of that committee, and I was operating under instructions...
The committee was to have held the meeting in camera. It did not. It made a mistake allowing a reporter to stay in there... I apologized to the community for the hurt that that oversight had caused, certainly. I didn't break any law. I violated no policy, and I did not, in any way, shape or form counter any any order, nor did I compromise my oath of office or my oath of secrecy. The committee was to have held the meeting in camera. It did not. It made a mistake allowing a reporter to stay in there... I apologized to the community for the hurt that that oversight had caused, certainly. I didn't break any law. I violated no policy, and I did not, in any way, shape or form counter any any order, nor did I compromise my oath of office or my oath of secrecy.