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News Release

Law Society Issues Notice for Lawyers Acting for Police Officers in SIU Cases

Case Number: LSUC

Mississauga (21 November, 2012) --- On November 6, 2012, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the body that governs all of Ontario’s lawyers, issued a notice for lawyers acting for police officers in SIU cases.

In effect, the notice says that a lawyer who acts for more than one officer may be in an untenable conflict position under the Rules of Professional Conduct because the lawyer has a duty to share all information among multiple clients.  In other words, the lawyer cannot hold back information received from one client from another client.

According to the Law Society, this Rule puts the police lawyer in a very difficult position because the SIU regulation to the Police Services Act prohibits officers from sharing information directly or indirectly with each other until the SIU completes its interviews. 

The notice was published as a result of a recommendation from a report written by The Honourable Patrick LeSage, Q.C., regarding the SIU, released in April 2011.  Former Attorney General Christopher Bentley referred Mr. LeSage’s recommendation to the Law Society in June 2011.

SIU Director Ian Scott commented, “This notice by the Law Society will do much to advance the cause of civilian oversight of law enforcement.  In my view, it is now clear that a lawyer cannot act for more than one police officer in relation to SIU investigations.   I thank Mr. LeSage for making this recommendation, and am grateful to the Law Society for clarifying the role of lawyers acting for police officers in these circumstances.” 

The full document can be found at:  http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147489984.

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342