In 2016, Const. Daniel Laporte was a 13-year veteran of the RCMP assigned to a joint organized crime unit in Montreal. That summer, on Aug. 14, he attended a private birthday party for an RCMP colleague at a home in Chambly, a Montreal suburb. No one was in police uniform.
As the evening progressed, court heard, some of Laporte’s friends joked about taking their clothes off “sooner or later” and “going to the spa.” Later, according to the Federal Court decision, Laporte “took off all his clothes in the kitchen and covered his genitals with a dishwashing brush.”
Laporte was nude for about five minutes. When he realized that the freezer had no more ice for drinks, he found a small towel, wrapped it around his waist, and went next door to his own home to find more ice. When he returned to the party, court heard, he changed back into his clothes “and remained fully dressed for the rest of the evening.”
Months later, in February 2017, one RCMP partygoer told another member, who had not been at the party, what had transpired. That RCMP member shared the story with Insp. Christian Dubois, leader of the organized crime unit, who launched an administrative investigation into the events described.
In April, RCMP Insp. Sylvain Leclerc issued a memo as part of that investigation, arguing that the party behaviour should not trigger a full disciplinary probe. “I am of the opinion that an investigation under the code of conduct is not necessary: It concerns a joke in bad taste between friends at a private party,” he wrote.
Leclerc recommended that Laporte meet with his unit commander and “be sensitized to the impact that his conduct could have on himself and the organization if the act were committed in front of strangers.”
Based on that investigation and a subsequent meeting, Supt. Martine Fontaine issued a decision in February 2018 which found Laporte guilty of a code of conduct violation. She said his behaviour brought discredit to the RCMP; a written reprimand was placed in his personnel file.
Laporte appealed the decision, but a second adjudicator upheld it as reasonable in March 2020, saying the officer’s behaviour had not respected the RCMP’s values of integrity and professionalism.
Laporte appealed again, this time to the Federal Court.
In ruling in Laporte’s favour, Judge Southcott said the RCMP failed to apply two key elements of the four-part test used to establish dishonourable conduct. The judge said RCMP adjudicators failed to explain how Laporte’s behaviour would lead a reasonable person to believe that the conduct in question cast discredit on the RCMP, or how it was linked to the officer’s duties.
Laporte’s Ottawa lawyer, Malini Vijaykumar, said he intends to pursue a new hearing with a different RCMP appeals adjudicator. Laporte has been medically discharged from the RCMP, but wants his record cleared.
This content was originally published here.