Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jan 2017
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Orillia Packet and Times
Author: Patrick Bales
Page: A1


Sgt. Dan Mulligan fought charges of discreditable conduct,

An OPP sergeant who stood before two professional standards bureau
tribunals in the fall has found out his fate in both cases.

Sgt. Dan Mulligan, a 30-year veteran of the OPP, has been found guilty
of two counts of discreditable conduct, one count of breach of
confidence and one count of insubordination stemming from the two
hearings. He was found not guilty on a second count of

Supt. Greg Walton heard the case for one count of discreditable
conduct and two counts of insubordination, Nov. 28 and 29 in Orillia.
Walton issued his ruling Monday.

Mulligan was charged under the Police Services Act following his
presence and participation at the Not by Accident Southwest Injury
Prevention Conference in London, Ont., Sept. 17, 2015. Mulligan was
appearing as a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
and speaking on the legalization of marijuana in Canada.

Some 10 weeks earlier, senior members of the OPP were made aware of
Mulligan's participation in the conference. On the direction of Supt.
William Davies, Staff Sgt. Dan Cameron gave Mulligan a direct order
not to attend the conference. That order was then repeated via email.

But Mulligan went anyway, and spoke as planned. At that time, he was
reminded of the order by a fellow OPP officer in attendance at the
conference. Soon after, the charges were laid.

To determine if Mulligan was insubordinate, Walton first had to
consider if Mulligan's conduct was discreditable. Walton used
Mulligan's actions in trying to separate himself from his employer as
proof he was doing wrong by the police service. "Any time a person
making a public presentation needs to open with a disclaimer to the
effect their employer does not endorse what they are about to say,
that should set off alarm for them," Walton wrote. "They should know
they ought to reconsider their position, meet with their employer in
an attempt to come to a resolution or at the very least, tread lightly."

Walton ruled by Mulligan regularly identifying himself as a police
officer, through letters to the editor and other columns and news
reports on marijuana legalization, he used his status to advance a
position. Walton wrote, "Mulligan cannot have his cake and eat it,
too," and be exempt of any responsibility.

"If Sgt. Mulligan attended in a public forum and spoke out about his
position on the legalization of marijuana without making any reference
to his profession or his employer, it is unlikely that would result in
misconduct," Walton added.

On the insubordination charges, James Girvin, counsel for Mulligan,
argued while there may be repercussions for a police officer's offduty
conduct, the OPP doesn't have the authority to tell a member not to
engage in that conduct.

But that conduct was presenting an opinion in contrast to current
Canadian laws, Andrea Huckins, counsel for the OPP, argued, which
created "a potential conflict of interest and interfering and
adversely impacting his ability to perform his duty as a police officer."

"Common sense suggests a senior member of the OPP ought to intervene
any time they become aware a member of their service is about to
commit what could be considered misconduct in any form, on-duty or
off-duty," Walton wrote.

Mulligan was cleared of the second insubordination charge, stemming
from the verbal reminder he received from a fellow officer at the
Sept. 17 conference. Walton found such a reminder of a "current and
valid order" did not constitute a new order and wasn't a lawful order
Mulligan disobeyed.

Mulligan had also been charged with breach of confidence and
discreditable conduct for writing a letter criticizing the OPP for
relocating its search-and-rescue helicopter from Sudbury to Orillia.
Those allegations were heard Oct. 3 and Nov. 8 of last year before OPP
Supt. Robin D. McElary-Downer in Orillia, with a ruling handed down
Jan. 10.

Claudia Brabazon, counsel for the Ministry of Community Safety and
Correctional Services and the Ministry of the Attorney General, called
the language Mulligan used in the letter, parts of which were also
published in the North Bay Nugget, "incendiary and alarmist."

In her decision, McElaryDowner wrote: "Ultimately, when (Brabazon)
challenged the officer in regard to whether lives had been lost as a
result of the relocation, he said no but added it was inevitable. She
submitted this was a speculative risk."

She said the evidence was convincing that breach of confidence was
proven because Mulligan communicated with media on an OPP matter
without authorization.

Mulligan had a duty to bring his concerns to the OPP first, said the
superintendent, and he did not.

McElary-Downer said it could not be said Mulligan "lacked a genuine
concern in regard to the impact the relocation of the helicopter would
have on public safety. To the contrary, I found he was very passionate
about its utility and accessibility to the north during inclement weather.

"Notwithstanding, he failed to convince me his only option was to go
to the media, rather than report his concerns through the chain of
command," McElary-Downer wrote.

Mulligan pleaded not guilty to all charges. The punishments for the
convictions were not announced with either decision.
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