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My fight for justice

November 2021

It’s really a punch to the gut to be falsely accused of something, especially when that accusation results in court action.

For the past two years, I have been attempting to get justice for a crime that was committed against me.

Beginning in November 2019 and continuing into June 2020 (that I know of), a series of accusations were made against me, anonymously, to my local police service. This anonymous source, using Crime Stoppers, claimed that they had seen me in the front window of my house, on numerous occasions, loudly ranting and raving about a particular issue, waiving a rifle around and threatening to “get back” at certain people. The source further alleged that I was dancing around my living room in either just my under wear or completely naked.

These allegations were completely false, not just kind of false, nor an exaggeration of the truth, but completely false. This led to my local police service serving a Criminal Code Section 117 Public Safety Warrant on me. Under this search warrant, the police were authorized to search my house, cars and any outbuildings, and seize my lawfully owned hunting rifles and any ammunition in my possession.

This led to court action against me, stretching over a year-and-a-half. In April 2021, the Crown Attourney withdrew the court action, but not before I’d incurred an almost $9000 legal bill.

As a side issue, it’s really frightening to think that this court action came about, despite the police having only accusations provided by an anonymous complainant; nothing more. There were no photos, videos, audio recordings, or witnesses willing to come to court and be subject to cross-examination. Of course, I know why there were none of the aforementioned. Keep in mind, we live in an era when most people have a recording device in their pocket at all times (sometimes glued to their hands), yet there was no footage, not even one short clip, nor a call to 9-11.

You would thought that seeing someone dancing around naked in their living room with a rifle, ranting and raving about getting back at people, would have warranted an immediate call to 9-11, not an anonymous complaint to Crime Stoppers, some of which weren’t acted upon by police for over a month. The first complaint was made on 2 November 2019, and the Public Safety Warrant wasn’t executed for over a month later, on 17 December.

The police did make a belated attempt to identify the anonymous complainant, after the court action had already commenced, and after I had made a formal complaint about the fact that they didn’t know the identity of the complainant, but they were unsuccessful. The allegations were made through Crime Stoppers, using an anonymous phone application, so identifying the source was impossible.

The only thing really going in the police’s favour was that allegations painted me as a potentially violent and unstable person, thus they could justify the court action for “public safety” reasons. I’m a retired police officer, recovering alcoholic (five years & eight months of sobriety) and suffer from PTSD, something I have been very open about for the past four years. The anonymous source obviously thought they could use that against me.

Fortunately for me, I had alibi evidence, including witnesses who were willing to come to court and testify that the allegations couldn’t have happened. The complainant gave specific dates and time-frames, and I was able to refute all of them. On four of the dates that I was allegedly behaving badly, I wasn’t even at home during the time-frame, and I was able to conclusively prove that.

When the Crown realized that there was no chance of being successful, the matter was dropped.

I wasn’t facing any charges as a result of this action, but I was required to attend a court hearing to determine if my ownership of the rifles would be forfeited, along with a five-year prohibition on the ownership of firearms. This is also in addition to any negative consequences that could have befallen me for having been painted a violent and unstable person.

Since then, I have been attempting to positively identify the person responsible for committing a crime against me, specifically Public Mischief, an offence under Section 140 (1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada, which reads: “Everyone commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence.”

Some of the information mentioned in the false allegations against me, along with some reasonable deduction, allowed me to identify a specific suspect as the source of the false allegations, that being a former friend and former co-worker, Sergeant Mark McComb of West Grey Police, along with a potential witness, whom I will call “Ralph Furley.”

After initially refusing to investigate the crime against me, my local police did commence an investigation, and the detective doing the investigation did do a pretty thorough job, considering how well the anonymous complainant hid their tracks.

“Ralph Furley” was interviewed by police, but denied having any knowledge of the allegations and who may have been responsible. This was exactly what “Ralph” had also told me when I attended his house to ask him if he knew anything about it, as he is also a friend of McComb. His denial of any knowledge was not a surprise, as it would have been in McComb’s best interest to keep that information from even his best friend “Ralph,” for the exact reason that someone may ask him about it. What was surprising, though, was “Ralph’s” reaction. After giving him a quick explanation of what happened to me, his immediate reaction was to very tersely cut me off and state that he knew nothing about it and that he would say the same thing in a formal, police interview. A reaction that I would have expected if he truly knew nothing about the false allegations against me, would be to express shock that something like that could happen to me, ask me for more details, and perhaps, to stress he had nothing to do with the false allegations against me, just in case I was thinking that he was involved.

McComb, however, refused to consent to an interview by my local police. A natural reaction to being falsely accused of an offence/crime, is to protest and very adamantly deny the allegations, along with doing what you personally can to refute the allegations. I certainly did when the accusations were made against me! Even if you think it’s wise to say very little during your initial interaction with police until you speak to a lawyer, the adamant denials to police would just naturally come very quickly.

I also filed several complaints with my local police service for not properly investigating the allegations against me, before they dragged me into court. Why? Because I had nothing to hide!

By simply refusing to even consent to an interview with police, where probing questions can be asked and the investigator can evaluate not only what is said, but non-verbal body language, that says a lot unto itself. Of course, an accused/suspect is under no obligation to answer police questions, but if you have nothing to hide, why not talk to police and answer any questions they may ask, accompanied by a lawyer if desired? While his refusal to meaningfully participate in this investigation certainly doesn’t prove that McComb is responsible, it certainly does nothing to indicate that my suspicions about him are wrong either. 

Why not talk, if for no other reason than to positively exclude yourself as the person responsible for committing a crime against me? Was McComb afraid that he might not be able to hood-wink the police investigator; that the investigator, who was a homicide detective, would be able to spot any lies that he might tell, better than a lesser-trained investigator? “Ralph Furley” had no problem answering questions. Perhaps he didn’t have anything to hide? If I can exclude McComb as a suspect, I won’t waste any more time searching for evidence against them. So far, I have nothing to indicate that I should stop investigating him.

Whomever made these allegations against me, whether it’s Mark McComb or someone else, is a criminal and a coward. I will do what I can to ensure they face criminal and/or civil charges.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/my-fight-for-justice/

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