Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Judicial review – Disclosure of records – Jurisdiction of court – Mootness
Cook v. Canada (Royal Canadian Mounted Police),  F.C.J. No. 802, 2012 FC 765, Federal Court, June 20, 2012, Scott J.
The Applicant, Mr. Cook, is a member of the Respondent, RCMP. In June and December 2001, he was involved in incidents that lead to two informal discipline charges being placed on his RCMP record. The discipline was administered on February 19, 2002. Mr. Cook grieved the informal discipline but abandoned the matter after 3 years.
In March 2010, after the SCC decision in R v. McNeil, the RCMP adopted a misconduct disclosure policy. This policy was applied in Mr. Cook’s case and, in November 2011, Mr. Cook was advised that his discipline records were being forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC). The disclosure was to be provided to an accused in a criminal matter (where Mr. Cook was an investigating officer). The charge against the accused was possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Mr. Cook objected to the disclosure of his discipline records. He argued that the policy did not require disclosure in this case. Mr. Cook filed his application for judicial review of the RCMP’s decision on December 1, 2011. Mr. Cook sought a permanent order restraining the RCMP from disclosing his record to the PPSC. The RCMP filed a motion to have Mr. Cook’s application struck, arguing that the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction to review the RCMP’s decision to disclose records to the PPSC.
Mr. Cook subsequently withdrew his request for injunctive relief and the RCMP disclosed his records to the PPSC on February 15, 2012. The Federal Court subsequently heard Mr. Cook’s application for judicial review and the RCMP’s motion to strike.
The Court first considered whether it had jurisdiction to review the RCMP’s determination regarding disclosure to the PPSC. Mr. Cook argued this was not a policing matter but a matter of administrative and employment law. Mr. Cook argued the decision was arbitrary and contrary to the principles established in R v McNeil. The RCMP argued that it is not acting as a federal board or tribunal when it is fulfilling its common law and constitutional obligations. The RCMP further argued that its decision to disclose Mr. Cook’s record was part of the procedure for criminal matters.
The Court held that the issue was moot because the disclosure was already made to the PPSC. However, the Court also commented that it should be reluctant to intervene in cases of the RCMP’s operational discretion. The Court further stated that the provincial court judge hearing the criminal trial was better positioned to consider the relevance of the disclosures.
The Court dismissed the application on the basis of mootness and costs were awarded against Mr. Cook.
This case was digested by Scott J. Marcinkow of Harper Grey LLP. If you would like to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or review his biography at http://www.harpergrey.com.
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