May 25th, 2024

Quebec police can refuse to talk to and share notes with watchdog: Court of Appeal

By The Canadian Press on May 2, 2024.

Quebec's highest court says municipal officers have the right to remain silent during investigations by the independent police watchdog. A BEI truck, Quebec’s independent police bureau, is seen as investigators examine the scene in Louiseville, Que., Tuesday, March 28, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – Quebec’s highest court says police officers have the right to remain silent during investigations by the province’s police watchdog.

In a decision Tuesday, the Court of Appeal sided with the Quebec federation of municipal police officers and the Montreal police brotherhood against the provincial government.

The police organizations won in Superior Court, and the Court of Appeal affirmed the right of officers to refuse to share their incident reports or speak with investigators from the watchdog, known as the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, or BEI.

In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal panel ruled that officers cannot be forced to provide documents that could incriminate them.

The panel also ruled that officers have the right to remain silent – and must be informed of that right at the start of any BEI investigation.

Created in 2013, the BEI is mandated to investigate when a person or an officer dies or is seriously injured during a police intervention or while in custody.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2024.

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