Melanson v. Flynn… from August 2017 by Kelly Donovan

By  | January 25, 2018 | 2 Comments | Filed under: Waterloo Police class action lawsuit

Published on

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/melanson-v-flynn-kelly-donovan/

I sat in court today listening to a story I already know… All too well.

David Flynn was a police officer for a short six years (coincidentally, the same amount of time as me). One day, Flynn was served with paperwork regarding a complaint that had been made to the OIPRD (Office of the Independent Police Review Director), advising him he was to be charged with 3 PSA (Police Services Act) charges. Flynn consulted with peers and his association whose advice to him was to get in touch with Gary Melanson, (Director of Legal Services with the Waterloo Regional Police Services). Flynn says he had never been through this before and didn’t know what to do… So, he called Melanson.

The precise details of this phone call are what was disputed today at the Waterloo Region Courthouse, civil courtroom # 504, in excess of 6 hours. Flynn says he was told by Melanson “If you take a guilty plea, you don’t have to have a trial, and you could save yourself a lot of money.” Melanson denies saying this or rather says he “cannot recall” but does “not believe” he said those things, but did take notes regarding the phone conversation, and those notes indicate the two spoke about the cost of Flynn’s defence. Regardless, Flynn testified today that following the conversation he was “naive and shocked by what [he] was being told.” As the PSA hearing process played out, Flynn retained Harry Black, (well-known police lawyer out of Toronto), and the process dragged on. Flynn stressed on the stand today that he was not going to admit guilt for something he hadn’t done and was prepared to bring the matter to a trial for all of the facts to be exposed, although, he did not have the unlimited financial resources of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. For whatever reason, Melanson and his lawyer continued to argue the merits of the PSA hearing process and stress that Melanson’s actions were above board. Flynn testified that when his lawyer had requested that certain items be disclosed, the Hearing Officer (Bond) made an order to that effect, and yet Melanson refused to disclose them. Black had to file a motion for the disclosure of these items, and Melanson responded with a counter-motion and what Black describes as a 1,000 page, voluminous cross-motion to deny the original motion. Flynn did not want to spend the tens of thousands of dollars it would have cost, simply to have a “motion hearing” to debate who is “right” (as Melanson’s lawyer put it at one point today). Flynn abandoned the motion and never received that disclosure.

…Is your head spinning yet? Mine sure was today as I sat through hours of a hearing paid for by the taxpayers of this province debating facts which the former officer had already accepted by way of Informal Resolution.

Now, let me preface all of this; I already know that the PSA disciplinary process is a waste of taxpayers dollars, but here I am, sitting in court, almost 2-years from the date this PSA matter wrapped up, and Flynn is STILL facing legal action.

After the Informal Resolution was all wrapped up, Flynn wanted to put the matter behind him. He was advised by his association to “state the facts” to the general association membership to try to recoup his legal fees. Flynn did so, reciting everything that happened to him and all of the parties involved. The matter went to a vote, and his colleagues voted in favour of paying his legal bill. Flynn testified today he went to work the next day, ready to put all of this behind him and never even spoke to any of his colleagues about the matter. A couple of weeks later, he was called into his boss’s office after briefing where she handed him an envelope addressed to Flynn, marked “PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL” and yet his boss said “I know what’s in it.” (So much for private and confidential). Flynn had been served notice that Melanson was bringing a private civil lawsuit against him for allegedly uttering defamatory statements at the private association meeting when requesting financial restitution. These papers were served to Flynn on duty within a police facility. Shortly after, Flynn quit.

“I couldn’t deal with it. I was done,” David Flynn testified.

I wasn’t shocked. In my research, throughout my battle, I have met dozens of individuals of high integrity and morals who felt as though they had no other choice but to leave the profession to stop the abuse, the oppression, the bullying. I had only ever heard good things about Flynn’s work ethic on the road, and I was of the impression that it was a loss for WRPS when he quit. But, no one at WRPS cared. Instead, he was sued.

Here we are, 17 months later, and although Flynn chose to leave the toxic workplace, he is STILL dealing with the tyranny. I use these words loosely since there has been no finding of guilt against Melanson, and the matter will be heard (yet again) tentatively on September 28th. I have, however, lived it.

So, over the past two days of hearing of this case I have learned that Melanson’s original statement of claim against Flynn was based on what he had “heard” Flynn had said about him at a private association meeting. Melanson had obtained a transcript of the meeting, and when the transcript did not contain what Melanson had believed Flynn had said (the defamatory statements), Melanson submitted an amended statement of claim (did not concede), yet he chose NOT to admit the transcript into evidence (something that caught us all a little off guard today). You’re suing him for comments he made, but you don’t want to admit the transcript of what he actually said?

Today felt like a win to me; a win for all police officers who face “the bully.” Whether it is a prosecutor, the OIPRD, the Chief, etc., this is a clear example of misfeasance in public office and needs to be properly addressed so that it does not continue to cost good officers their jobs.

When Melanson’s lawyer asked Flynn today “do you agree you did something wrong?” Flynn’s response was classic:

“I applied to the Waterloo Regional Police Service.”

Share this article as you see fit. We are on the horizon of change.

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2 Responses to Melanson v. Flynn… from August 2017 by Kelly Donovan

  1. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Tom Vann January 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I try not to use this word often but I’m going to. Hate. I just absolutely hate corruption, abuse of power and position that hurts people. Perhaps it is due to giving freely many thousands of dollars, thousands of hours of my personal time with the desire to help others to try and make a difference. This is not a brag letter by no means. This is pure anger at all the steps so many people in communities take to make a better world, only to have pond scum steal something from others or society for personal gain or whatever. The only calm I get is that one day you have to pay the Ferry man to get across the lake. When our family estate evaporated I damn near did something real bad to someone. I could have helped my girls have a more secure life. When I read political scandals that steal billions from needy people or even this case I boil. I really struggle watching others getting shit on. We can’t save the world but we can help 1 person at a time. I just want to move and be off the grid. Soon as I see someone building an ARC I will sell my house and jump on board. Wrong is wrong and this is wrong.

  2. kefran@bell.net'
    ZZZZZ January 26, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Seems to me the line “i cannot recall’ or ‘I don’t remember’ seems to save the ass of the scum in the pond…It’s about time that vain excuse is not allowed in any trial or any hearings…come on now…civilians are supposed to remember an infraction point for point but police officers and the like get away with saying ‘I don’t recall’ or ‘I can’t remember’ enough of the bullshit!!!

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