Fredericton, RCMP sued by fired Fredericton police officer

Allegations against police force include negligence, extortion, perjury and false imprisonment.

Former Fredericton police officer Jeff Smiley and his common-law wife Kim Burnett have made a series of allegations against Fredericton police and the RCMP in a civil suit filed against the City of Fredericton and the Attorney General of Canada.

The allegations include obstruction of justice, negligence in an investigation against Smiley, perjury and false imprisonment.

Const. Jeff Smiley dismissed from Fredericton Police Force

The statement of claim also alleges that Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch offered Smiley $80,000 last year to voluntarily resign from the force. The court filing, submitted by Halifax lawyer Barry Mason, says the alleged offer amounted to extortion.

Chief Leanne Fitch declined to comment on specific details of the allegations made against her force and her officers, saying that she has not been served with the legal documents.

When Fitch was asked about the allegation made against her, she did speak in general terms about the settlement process available to police forces.

“There’s a process that is laid out under the Police Act for a settlement conference and through to arbitration, and those processes are laid out in the Police Act,” said Fitch.

“Anything can happen in a settlement conference, from a member agreeing to retire up to and including corrective and disciplinary action, but those are private discussions that aren’t open for the public.”

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Arbitration ruling
In December 2015, an arbitrator ordered that Smiley be dismissed from the Fredericton Police Force over four counts of breaching professional conduct standards for police officers.

The ruling came after Fitch initiated a domestic assault investigation against Smiley, stemming from an alleged incident involving Burnett in February 2014.

The assault charge against Smiley was later dropped by the Crown because of a jurisdictional issue, as the alleged assaults described in a subsequent interview happened in Nova Scotia, not New Brunswick.

Smiley directed CBC News to speak with Mason his behalf.

“That assault simply did not happen,” said Mason.

“What flowed from this, these charges that were laid, were of tremendous impact on both Mr. Smiley and Ms. Burnett in terms of the fallout, in terms of Mr. Smiley’s career, and the stress and anxiety that this negligent investigation that was done by the police force.

“This action isn’t being filed lightly,” said Mason.

Perjury alleged
In the statement of claim, Burnett alleges Fredericton police breached her Charter rights by locking her in an interview room after the alleged assault, constituting false imprisonment and arbitrary detention.

The statement also accuses Fredericton police and specific officers of perjury, obstruction of justice, wilfully misleading the Crown, falsifying a police report, negligence and abuse of process, constituting misfeasance in public office.

Smiley and Burnett also accuse the RCMP of improperly investigating the alleged assault when they took over the investigation, and of illegally seizing items from Smiley, including firearms.

They also accuse members of the RCMP of perjury and obstruction of justice, constituting misfeasance in public office.

Burnett says she was threatened and intimidated by an RCMP officer after she denied she had been assaulted by Smiley.

In a statement to CBC News, RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said “It would be inappropriate to comment on matters that are before the courts.”

Click here to see original article written by Redmond Shannon, CBC News

April 15, 2016