Allegations of misconduct against Osoyoos RCMP Constable Amit Goyal withdrawn, but was the case all about RCMP revenge?
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens announced on Tuesday that the disciplinary hearing for Constable Amit Goyal had been concluded after he withdrew allegations of misconduct against the Osoyoos officer.
Last September, Goyal, who has been on a paid suspension since June 2013, had his disciplinary hearing postponed once again because of new evidence in the case.
Goyal had been accused of misconduct in a 2012 incident in which his Audi S5 and an on-loan Ford Ranger were reported stolen from his Okanagan home and were later found burnt. He was not criminally charged though criminal charges were recommended by investigators.
The Province newspaper reported at the time that Goyal’s lawyer John Benkendorf told the hearing that after reviewing new evidence, he felt “this hearing would be an embarrassment for the RCMP were it to proceed.”
The commanding officer of the RCMP in B.C. was reported to be reviewing the file.
On Tuesday, Callens said in a statement: “In 2014 I requested that the matter be subject to an Adjudication Board Hearing under provisions outlined in the previous RCMP Act. While I had hoped it would be resolved in a timely manner, there were a series of processes, logistical requirements and four requests for adjournment by Constable Goyal and/or his counsel that contributed to significant delays in having this matter resolved in a timely fashion.
“On September 8, 2016, new information was brought forward verbally, prior to a scheduled hearing, that required my consideration as the Appropriate Officer and therefore an adjournment was requested by the Appropriate Officers Representative on my behalf.
“Ultimately, on November 8, 2016, I received the formal written package of new information from Constable Goyal’s counsel. The materials contained information that provided alternate theories that could not be disputed due to contradictory expert information. This was the first that this information was made available for my consideration. Once reviewed, I was able to reach the decision that it was not in the public interest to proceed as there was not a reasonable likelihood of substantiating the allegations. Therefore, the allegations have been withdrawn and the matter concluded.
“Constable Goyal has remained a member of the RCMP throughout this internal process. Given his prolonged absence from the workplace, efforts will now focus on ensuring he meets the required standards and training prior to his return to duty.
“This protracted process and lack of timely resolution is why the RCMP welcomed the legislative changes to the RCMP Act in 2014. The new conduct process allows misconduct to be addressed in a more responsive, timely and effective manner, and at the lowest appropriate level of authority. Emphasis is also placed on identifying remedial, corrective and educative solutions, rather than being limited to applying punitive sanctions.”
Benkendorf told the Province newspaper: ““It’s fair to say, in the 16 years I’ve been a lawyer, I’ve never seen a case like this. I’ve never had something like that, where it was such a difference between what it appeared to be, and what it actually was.”
BACK in March, CKNW radio in an exclusive story exposed how Goyal had clashed with Dan Malo, Assistant Commissioner and the Lower Mainland Commander of the RCMP, back in 2010 when Malo was a superintendent.
CKNW revealed that in August 2010, Malo was in a pick-up truck driven by his wife Sergeant Laura Malo when it was pulled over by Goyal.
The vehicle didn’t have proper insurance tags, but Malo identified himself and his wife as RCMP members and insisted the vehicle was insured.
CKNW reported: “That didn’t match the information in the police computer, but Supt. Malo went on to give an elaborate story about mix-ups with paperwork and work-related threats to his life.”
Malo told Goyal to call his supervisor who happened to be Inspector Brad Haugli. Haugli told Goyal to let the Malos go.
However, Goyal was worried that if the Malos get into an accident without insurance, he would be in trouble. So he reported the incident to his commander, Staff-Sgt. Kurt Lozinski.
Malo then complained about Goyal, accusing him of appearing aggressive. But Malo also agreed that given the circumstances, Goyal’s approach was understandable and appropriate, CKNW reported.
The incident was reviewed by a number of senior officers.
CKNW reported that in one review, Island District Commander Randy Wilson said he was “confident that Constable Goyal was nothing but professional, ethical, showed extraordinary patience and consideration throughout. His advice and suggestions regarding options to proceed without taking the risk of driving an uninsured vehicle were appropriate and wise…It was no doubt disconcerting to the junior member at roadside to see an officer and senior NCO behave in this manner and would have been frowned upon by the general public as nepotistic and an abuse of position.”
The case was submitted for a code of conduct investigation. In January 2011, Chief Superintendent Janice Armstrong suggested it was all a misunderstanding and found any allegations of misconduct by Superintendent Malo to be unsubstantiated.
But District Commander Peter Hourihan, the RCMP commanding officer for B.C. at the time, found Armstrong’s report surprising, noting: “[The] entire scenario [is] very disturbing…A superintendent attempted to and succeeded in influencing a junior constable and an inspector in order to further his own personal interest, which was to further commit an offence of operating an uninsured vehicle.”
CKNW said: “Although he blasted all of the senior officers involved, Hourihan called Goyal “a definite strength” who “upheld his level of service and dedication.”
“In fact, Hourihan found Goyal was the only one who “acted well” in this file.”
A couple of months after the CKNW report, Superintendent Malo quit the RCMP. However, he told the media that this was not connected to the traffic infraction incident and that his name had been cleared.
All this leaves a lot of unanswered questions about the Osoyoos incident.
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