WINNIPEG – An investigation has found that a police officer in Brandon, Man. did not break the law by receiving and viewing intimate images of a woman who was applying for a job with the force.
The Independent Investigation Unit, a civilian-led provincial agency, says the images were relevant to the hiring process.
The agency also says only one officer viewed the images without the woman’s prior knowledge, and then ensured they were destroyed when the decision was made to not hire the woman.
The woman had applied for a job with the Brandon Police Service in 2016 and had previously shared photos of herself with an officer while they were in a relationship.
Those photos were later brought to the attention of another officer who was on the police force executive and who, after consulting other executive members, reviewed them.
The Independent Investigation Unit has ruled there is no basis to lay charges against that officer.
“I am satisfied that (the officer) believed the images were relevant to determining the suitability of an applicant as a (Brandon) police officer,” Zane Tessler, the unit’s civilian director, wrote in a five-page report released Thursday.
The officer was within the law to receive and view the images, Tessler wrote. He was authorized under exceptions in both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Intimate Image Protection Act of Manitoba which allow the non-consensual distribution of intimate images if it “serves the public good,” Tessler said.
“The hiring process for a police officer, including determining the suitability of such a public servant to be held to very high standards, fits within the definition of ‘public good,'” Tessler wrote.
The report deals only with the actions of the police officer who viewed the images. The RCMP investigated a complaint that a civilian worker had shared the photos and there was no word Thursday on the outcome of that probe.
The woman whose images were shared has filed a lawsuit against the civilian worker, whose lawyer has denied any wrongdoing.