Hearing set to probe 49 APEC complaints

A public hearing into the conduct of members of the RCMP during the APEC leaders' meeting will be held in Vancouver beginning April 14.

The hearing will be conducted by the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, which has received 49 complaints related to demonstrations on the UBC campus during the APEC conference last November, including one filed by UBC President Martha Piper on behalf of the university.

The Public Complaints Commission is an independent federal agency that conducts impartial reviews of complaints against RCMP members.

Commission Chair Shirley Heafey said the hearing is the best means to assure the public that the complaints are thoroughly and impartially reviewed.

The hearing's agenda will include complaints regarding the use of force, interference with freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and treatment of people in police custody, including female protesters who were strip-searched before being detained in police cells.

Before they can appear, complainants must satisfy the hearing's panel that they have a substantial and direct interest in the complaint. The panel has the power to summon witnesses by subpoena and to receive evidence under oath or by affidavit.

Members of the panel appointed by the commission include Vina Starr, John L. Wright and Gerald Morin.

The hearing is expected to take several weeks and will be held at 300 W. Georgia, room 214.

Meanwhile, an internal RCMP investigation of APEC-related incidents is continuing.