Police Discipline Hearing to Proceed

TORONTO - April 18, 2006 - The Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services (OCCPS) has, for the second time, directed that Fitzroy Masters’ complaint against Constable Michael Kiproff of the Toronto Police Service proceed to a discipline hearing.

Masters, a supervisor at the York Detention Centre in Toronto, complained that Kiproff had exercised his authority unlawfully when he arrested Masters in his workplace on February 7, 2003. The charge laid by Kiproff of obstructing a peace officer in the execution of his duties was withdrawn by the Crown.

OCCPS first became involved in the case in 2003. The Toronto Police had refused to proceed against Kiproff in respect of Masters’ complaint, while proceeding with two counts resulting from the complaint of a youth in detention arising from the same incident. In its decision dated December 23, 2003, OCCPS wrote to Chief Julian Fantino directing that the Toronto Police commence the hearing process against Kiproff in respect of Masters' complaint within 60 days.

Despite OCCPS’ order, the Toronto Police failed to initiate the hearing process in respect of the Masters complaint until 256 days later, on September 4, 2004. By that point, Kiproff’s lawyer Peter Brauti of Brauti Thorning had launched a motion before hearing officer Superintendent Neil Tweedy seeking to stay all proceedings, asserting that there had been an abuse of process.

On April 19, 2005, Superintendent Tweedy granted the defence motion in part. He determined that the police service’s failure to proceed within 60 days as directed by OCCPS meant that he was without jurisdiction to hear the charge relating to Masters’ complaint.

Masters appealed Superintendent Tweedy's decision to OCCPS and was represented in the appeal hearing by Marshall Swadron of Swadron Associates. On April 18, 2006, a two-member OCCPS panel allowed the appeal and reinstated the charge against Kiproff relating to Masters’ complaint. The 60-day time period was determined to be directory only and did not amount to a limitation period. The panel also found that Kiproff had suffered no prejudice. Please click here to view the full text of the decision.

All three charges arising from the February 7, 2003 incident at the youth detention centre will now proceed to a hearing presently scheduled for June 2006