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The Never-Ending Story – My fight for justice continues

June 2023

In what’s turning out to be the never-ending story, I recently filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), due to the inaction of certain people, relating to a crime that was committed against me.

Chief Robert Martin, chief of the West Grey Police Service, is refusing to investigate the possible criminal misconduct of Sergeant Mark McComb, an officer under his command, specifically Public Mischief, section 140 (1) of the Criminal code, committed against me. Chief Martin is refusing, even if it is to disprove my suspicions against McComb, despite the fact that I have identified a potential witness.

Further, he is refusing to provide me with an explanation as to why he is refusing to investigate, other than to say that it falls under the jurisdiction of Barrie Police, which is not quite true. The criminal aspect of this allegation is indeed the jurisdiction of Barrie Police, but Chief Martin does have jurisdiction over any Police Service Act charges that may result from an investigation into one of his officers.


Back in December 2019, I was the subject of a Section 117 Public Safety Warrant, and had my legally owned hunting rifles seized, based solely on anonymous accusations made through Crime Stoppers. It was alleged that on numerous occasions during November 2019, I was observed in a manic state through the front window of my house, waving my rifles around and yelling loudly, threatening to “get even” with some people with whom I used to work.

Despite the anonymous complainant trying to pass themselves off as one of my neighbours, there were no photos, videos, audio recordings, or witnesses willing to come to court and be subject to cross-examination. There wasn’t even a 9-11 call, which is something that might be expected when a person in an apparent manic and violent state is observed waving rifles around and threatening to “get even” with people. I know why there were none of the above.

Those accusations against me were completely false, not just kind of false, nor an exaggeration of the truth, but completely false. It’s very disturbing that someone could make such accusations, with nothing to support those accusations, and successfully get police action, leading to court proceedings.

I’m a retired police officer who suffers from PTSD. I’m also a recovering alcoholic with seven-years sobriety as of 4 March 2023, things that I’ve been very open about the past several years (PTSD and alcoholism), and the criminal who made this complaint against me obviously thought they could use these facts against me. I’ve never been known as a violent person, even when I was drunk, and quite frankly, the allegations were quite over-the-top in their description of my alleged behaviour.

Fortunately, I had alibi evidence that refuted all the allegations. On four occasions, I wasn’t even at home on the alleged dates and times, along with having witnesses willing to testify that on the dates when I was at home, they were with me and nothing of the sort happened. The Crown Attourney saw fit to withdraw this application in April 2021, but not until I’d spent almost $9000 hiring a lawyer.

From my own investigation, I zeroed in on a particular suspect responsible for making these false complaints, that being former friend and former co-worker Sergeant Mark McComb of West Grey Police. Unfortunately, I only had circumstantial evidence linking McComb to this stunt, so I filed a formal complaint with Barrie Police, hoping that their investigation could uncover more substantial evidence.

Sergeant Kevin Scales of Barrie Police did conduct quite an extensive investigation, which included interviewing a potential witness, but this witness apparently didn’t provide any actionable information. McComb, on the other hand, refused to be interviewed by Sergeant Scales. Although no one who is accused and/or charged with an offence has any obligation to answer questions, I can speak from personal experience that when I was accused of something that I did not do, I couldn’t wait to prove to the police and the court that the allegations were false.

While this certainly doesn’t prove that McComb is responsible, it certainly does nothing to indicate that my suspicions about him are wrong either.

I also attempted to get the West Grey Police Services Board (WGPSB) to conduct their own internal investigation into McComb, in the hope that they might be able to assist Sergeant Scales’ investigation and either confirm or refute my suspicions regarding McComb, but the Chair of the WGPSB failed to respond to my request, which I can only interpret as a refusal to investigate. I expressed to them that if McComb really had nothing to do with these false allegations against me, that I wouldn’t waste any more time investigating him, and any assistance they could provide might help.

In July 2022, I filed complaints with both the Office of the Independent Review Director and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission in hopes that they might be able to force the WGPSB and/or West Grey Police Chief Rob Martin to conduct an investigation, but I was unsuccessful.

Around 22 July 2022, I submitted a Freedom of Information Request requesting any and all documents, electronic or otherwise, generated by West Grey Police and the West Grey Police Services Board, related to the Barrie Police investigation into McComb’s possible involvement in a Public Mischief complaint that I had filed with them (BA21048095). I was advised by Debbie Gilmer, the FIO Coordinator with Barrie Police, around the beginning of August, that my request had been forwarded to her for action.

On 6 August 2022, I sent an e-mail to West Grey Police Inspector Jeremy White, clarifying that I made this request to West Grey Police for any documents on their end. I received no response.

On 16 August 2022, I sent a similar e-mail to Chief Robert Martin, adding that if no documentation, either written or electronic, was generated, if he could you explain to me why one of his officers was named as a suspect in a criminal offence, yet no notes, memos, e-mails or occurrence reports were generated at their end? I received no response.

I submitted an appeal on 19 September 2022, with the explanation as to why it was submitted after the 30-day time limitation for the appeal. On 10 January 2023, I was advised by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario that my appeal was rejected due to the expiry of the 30-day appeal period. I was advised to re-submit my original request to West Grey Police, which I did.

I received a disclosure package from West Grey Police, dated 17 February 2023. In addition to declining to release the requested documents, citing privacy issues, West Grey Police also declined to state if an investigation was conducted by them. I immediately appealed this decision, receiving an Acknowledgement of Appeal from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, dated 2 March 2023.

On 25 May 2023, after receiving information from Lani Freedman, Mediator/Investigator, Tribunal Services Department, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, regarding my request Freedom of Information Act request to West Grey Police, I composed the following letter, which I sent via both e-mail and regular mail. I have not received any response to this letter.

26 May 2023, Chief Robert Martin. West Grey Police Service:


I have been advised by Lani Freedman, Mediator/Investigator, Tribunal Services Department, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, in regards to my request Freedom of Information Act request of you for “…all documents, reports, e-mails, notes, etc., written or electronic, that are held by the West Grey Police Services Board, relating to the Barrie Police investigation into the possible criminal conduct (public mischief, Section 140 (1) of the Criminal Code) of Sergeant Mark McComb, of the West Grey Police Service from July 1, 2021 lo January 18,2023.” (Ref: Your File No. FOI – 02-2023), that you did NOT conduct a parallel investigation into any possible involvement by Sergeant McComb. Could you please provide me with a detailed explanation as to why you chose not to investigate, if for no other reason, to satisfy yourself that Sergeant McComb had nothing to do with the commission of this crime against me?

Do I need to point out that neither you, nor your predecessor, had any problem investigating me for any real, or perceived, infractions, none of which rose to the level of a criminal offence.

While investigation of the criminal offence committed against me falls under the jurisdiction of Barrie Police, any assistance you could have provided to Barrie Police and the investigator assigned to this offence, Sergeant Kevin Scales, could have been of great assistance to resolving this issue.

Additionally, West Grey Police does have jurisdiction over any Police Service Act charges that may result from an investigation into the conduct of your officers, regardless of where the offence was committed. There is no requirement for criminal charges, or a conviction, for a Police Chief to commence an investigation into the conduct of a police officer under his or her command. Please reply within Ten (10) working days.

References: West Grey File No. FOI – 02-2023 Information and Privacy Commissioner File MA23-00145 CC: Kevin Eccles, Chair, West Grey Police Services Board.

After not receiving any response from Chief Robert Martin, or the West Grey Police Services Board, I submitted a complaint to the OIPRD, with the following additional paragraph:

To OIPRD: This matter has stretched out over an unnecessarily long period, with me filing FOIA requests and appeals, which are slowly revealing more and more details. Chief Martin’s refusal to assist me, in even the smallest of ways, has been very unhelpful. His refusal to directly address my concerns, along with his very minimal communication with me, shows a level of contempt for me that is unacceptable, disturbing and disgraceful. As police officers, we are supposed to follow the evidence wherever it leads. I don’t know if Chief Martin’s refusal to investigate Sergeant McComb has anything to do with the fact that they are not just chief and subordinate, but personal friends. I’m certainly not claiming that is the reason, as Chief Martin won’t give me one, but there is no way of getting around that it is a possible explanation.

It’s currently in the “Complaint form received stage.”

All I want are answers to my questions and, ultimately, justice. Let’s see if I can finally get both.

A little respect from the police service to which I gave 15 years of loyal service to, would also be nice.

Also read: Systemic failures have allowed a criminal to escape justice – Canadian Military History (militarybruce.com)

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/the-never-ending-story-my-fight-for-justice-continues/

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