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Should the IIO have the power to lay charges?

TORONTO (NEWS1130) – Ontario’s police watchdog has used its authority to charge a Toronto police officer in the fatal shooting of a young man on a streetcar.

It’s a power the watchdog in this province doesn’t have, and opinions vary on whether it should.

Here in BC, the Independent Investigations Office files reports to Crown Counsel, which then decides whether to pursue charges.

Linda Bush, whose son was shot dead in an RCMP detachment, would like us to mimic Ontario. “I think if charges were laid by the IIO, there would be more action.”

But Josh Paterson of the BC Civil Liberties Association favours our current system, for now.

“If over time we see the IIO is making charge recommendations and the Crown is consistently not taking them up, we may want to look at whether or not a system like Ontario’s could serve us better.”

So far in BC, Crown has declined charges in four of the watchdog’s six reports, while charges have been approved in one case and another is pending.