Victoria police officer suspended for lying about attending conference

Victoria police Const. Marty Steen has been suspended for 20 days without pay for lying about his attendance at a work-mandated conference.

The three-day conference was held in Vancouver in February 2018.

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In a written decision, adjudicator Ronald McKinnon said the suspension is appropriate.

“In my view, a reasonable person viewing all the facts of this case and particularly Const. Steen’s long and otherwise unblemished career would not consider the imposition of a suspension as tending to diminish the repute of the administration of police discipline,” said McKinnon, a retired B.C. Supreme Court judge.

McKinnon’s decision said that Steen’s superiors discovered several weeks after the conference that he might not have attended the whole event. He was eventually investigated under the Police Act.

“The VicPD’s internal investigation continued and Const. Steen ultimately admitted he had not been truthful on March 29 or April 11 [in 2018] and that he had, in fact, not attended any conference sessions in February 16,” the decision said. “He also admitted to submitting expense claims for lunch on February 15 and 16 despite the fact that lunches had been provided at the conference on both dates.”

His misleading statements led to his pending promotion to sergeant being revoked.

Steen’s case was further investigated starting in July by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. In a discipline proceeding held Jan. 24, 2019, two allegations of misconduct were substantiated — one for neglect of duty and one for deceit.

McKinnon described Steen’s deceit as “moderate.”

“He made false statements to his superiors on two separate occasions in order to prevent the discovery of his prior misconduct in failing to attend the full conference as required,” he said. “In my view, it was aggravating that he engaged in further deceit on April 11 after he was initially asked about his attendance on March 29.

“There was ample time for him to consider the matter in the interim and he regretfully chose to continue not to be forthright.”

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