Author Topic: Stuart Langridge, R.I.P. (suicide, MP probe - merged)  (Read 8355 times)

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Complaints body to probe investigations into corporal’s suicide



OTTAWA—The Military Police Complaints Commission is launching a probe into the way the military investigated a soldier’s suicide at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.

Cpl. Stuart Langridge hanged himself in the base barracks on March 15, 2008.

He was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan with Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), an armoured regiment.

It was his sixth suicide attempt.

His parents, Sheila and Shaun Fynes, have raised issues about investigations conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service following their son’s death.

They claim the initial investigation was not impartial or independent and sought to exonerate the military chain of command of responsibility for the suicide.

They also complain about delays and difficulty in obtaining information, and about the way they were treated by military police.

The chief of defence staff, Gen. Walt Natynczyk, apologized to Langridge’s family in October, acknowledging the military could have done a better job of handling their son’s case.

All Langridge’s suicide attempts came in the last year of his life. He was hospitalized several times and had resorted to alcohol and cocaine.

Fynes has said her 28-year-old son was never properly treated for his ailment and says the decisions made by military medical staff during the last weeks of his life were “thoughtless, humiliating and destabilizing.”

After his death, military mistakes added to the family’s suffering, including a mix-up in the next of kin. The military took more than 14 months to deliver Langridge’s suicide note to his family.

It was eight months before the Defence Department realized his parents, not his girlfriend, were the designated next of kin. His parents did not receive the flag that draped his coffin.

A board of inquiry into the death wasn’t held until a year later. And in September, the Defence Department told his mother that inquiries about his pension would have to be done through her lawyer.

Commission chairman Glenn Stannard said Monday he was launching the public-interest investigation because the complaint relates to an alleged lack of independence and impartiality.

“The commission believes that independence and impartiality are central to military policing, as it is essential that MPs be able to police Canadian Forces members without bias,” said a release.

“An immediate investigation by an independent body was also viewed as warranted to engender confidence in the process.”

The commission will issue a report on its findings and recommendations.

The Military Police Complaints Commission was established in 1999 to provide independent civilian oversight of the military police.

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MPCC to hold public hearings into handling of 2008 suicide
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 20:34:20 »
First step, a Public Interest Investigation....

Complaints body to probe investigations into corporal’s suicide

(....)

OTTAWA—The Military Police Complaints Commission is launching a probe into the way the military investigated a soldier’s suicide at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.

Cpl. Stuart Langridge hanged himself in the base barracks on March 15, 2008.

He was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan with Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), an armoured regiment.

It was his sixth suicide attempt.

His parents, Sheila and Shaun Fynes, have raised issues about investigations conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service following their son’s death.

They claim the initial investigation was not impartial or independent and sought to exonerate the military chain of command of responsibility for the suicide ....

Next step:  a Public Interest Hearing....
Quote
The Military Police Complaints Commission will hold a Public Interest Hearing into the investigations related to the death of Corporal Stuart Langridge, Commission Chair Glenn Stannard announced.

Cpl Langridge committed suicide at Canadian Forces Base/Area Support Unit (CFB/ASU) Edmonton on March 15, 2008. He had served in Bosnia and Afghanistan. His parents, Shaun and Sheila Fynes, maintain that he was suffering from depression and post traumatic stress disorder at the time of his death.

(....)

In May 2011, the Commission began a Public Interest Investigation into the complaint. The decision to hold a public hearing into the complaint reflects the seriousness of the allegations, which strike at the very core of how the Military Police performs its duties.

(....)

In a letter delivered to the Minister of National Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, the Judge Advocate General, the complainants and the subjects of the complaint, Mr. Stannard indicated that holding public hearings is the most appropriate way of providing the necessary level of accountability and transparency in the case. "“I have not come to this decision lightly,”" said Mr. Stannard.

While the allegations are serious, they have not been proven. The Military Police Complaints Commission will conduct its hearing in an open and impartial manner.

The Commission will set dates for the hearing following a case conference to be held in October ....
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Offline Kalatzi

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Re: Mental Health and the Canadian Forces - Recent Articles
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 15:17:10 »
‘Call my lawyer, not me,’ MacKay tells military inquiry head
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Call%2Blawyer%2BMacKay%2Btells%2Bmilitary%2Binquiry%2Bhead/6832969/story.html#ixzz1ypkmRZWU

Reproduced under the fair use provision of the copyright act

Defence Minister Peter MacKay has told the chairman of a federal inquiry probing the suicide of Afghan war veteran Stuart Langridge not to contact him directly again.
 
The apparent rebuke of Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) chairman Glenn Stannard comes at the end of a ministerial letter in which MacKay rejects a request to release key documents to the inquiry.
 
The defence minister was under fire in the House of Commons last week for refusing to waive his solicitor-client confidentiality and release military police papers.
 
In his letter to Stannard, MacKay reiterates that Supreme Court of Canada rulings forbid him from waiving the privilege all clients enjoy in their dealings with lawyers.
 
In his publicly released request sent to MacKay early last week, Stannard asked for limited access to documents that are directly related to the Langridge case but were written after military police detectives had consulted defence department lawyers.
 
Stannard, in effect, told MacKay his reading of the Supreme Court rulings was wrong and that the ‘client’ in any solicitor-client dealing still maintains the absolute right to waive privilege.
 
MacKay is officially the “client” in dealings between DND lawyers and other military employees.
 
“The government of Canada remains committed to the MPCC to the fullest extent possible,” says MacKay, but telling Stannard to communicate through federal lawyers next time he wants to contact him.
 
“I would ask that in future any communication on substantive issues pertaining to the hearing be done through (government) counsel,” writes the minister.
 
A spokesman for Stannard refused to comment on the letter but said the MPCC chairman would discuss the matter in a public session.
 
MacKay’s spokesman said late Sunday that the minister’s comment was meant as a request.
 
Commission lead lawyer Mark Freiman says the documents are vital to the commission’s work.
 
“They are right at the centre of the issues this commission has to grapple with,” he said.
 
Stannard now has to decide whether to seek a ruling from the Federal Court, a process he told MacKay could be lengthy and expensive and prolong the Langridge hearing.
 
The troubled Afghan veteran hanged himself in March 2008 at CFB Edmonton shortly after being ordered back to base at the end of 30-days psychiatric treatment.
 
Langridge’s parents Shaun and Sheila Fynes claim that three investigations by the military’s National Investigation Service (NIS) were flawed and deliberately biased in favour of the military.
 
The inquiry continues Monday and adjourns later this week for the summer. It resumes in the fall when NIS officers, who are subjects of the Fynes complaints, will appear.


Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Call%2Blawyer%2BMacKay%2Btells%2Bmilitary%2Binquiry%2Bhead/6832969/story.html#ixzz1yplGoMkZ

Seems Helicopter Pete has forgotten, as has most of  the Harper Government (Tm), who pays their salaries.
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Offline FJAG

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Military Police Complaints Commission - Fynes Public Hearing.
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 19:54:48 »
The Military Police Complaints Commission has today released it's report on the Fynes Public Hearing respecting the investigation of the suicide of Cpl Stuart Langridge in Edmonton in 2008.

The following is the Globe and Mail's article on the subject.

Military probe into soldier’s suicide made unacceptable errors, watchdog says
GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Mar. 10 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 10 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

The military police investigation into the 2008 suicide of an Afghanistan veteran was conducted by inexperienced personnel who made unacceptable errors, the commission that fields complaints against the force has found.

But Glenn Stannard, the chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission, says the military has either rejected or failed to respond to most of the recommendations stemming from the lengthy inquiry into the death of Corporal Stuart Langridge.

Mr. Stannard, who released the 1,008-page report of handling of the three investigations of Cpl. Langridge’s suicide on Tuesday, says the military’s refusal to address its deficiencies defeats the purpose of the exercise and prevents Canadians from knowing what, if anything, will be done differently.

“The commission concluded there were unacceptable errors, reflecting lack of professionalism and/or lack of competence in the way the military police interacted and communicated” with Cpl. Langridge’s parents, Sheila and Shaun Fynes, who lodged the complaint that led to the inquiry, Mr. Stannard said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The commission found that 15 of the Fynes’ allegations against the military police were substantiated and another nine were partly substantiated.

Mr. Stannard said the 2008 investigation into the corporal’s suicide was conducted “without any apparent plan or direction, mostly due to the inexperience of the investigators. The 2009 investigation was conducted without a clear understanding of the nature of the complaint and without asking for necessary legal advice.”

And, as for an investigation that was conducted in 2010, he said, the military police “did not conduct any actual investigation, yet nevertheless felt able to conclude that the Canadian Forces could not have been culpably negligent in Cpl. Langridge’s death …”

The inquiry by the complaints commission, which heard from 90 witnesses and generated more than 22,000 pages of exhibits, came up with 46 recommendations.

Among other things, the commission said military police investigators should gain sufficient field experience in sudden death cases before they are qualified to lead such investigations, the investigators should be supervised when the investigations are complex, policies with regard to suicide notes should be revised, and briefings for the families of the dead should contain meaningful and substantive information.

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, the head of the military police, received the interim report of the commission last May and responded in December in what is formally called a notice of action which was expected to explain how the military would change its procedures to do things better. But the response was instead brief, repetitive, unsubstantial, and often limited to the single word “Noted.”

In the end, 70 per cent of the recommendations were rejected and Mr. Stannard says the military has indicated, in a number of cases, that it has no plans to implement them.

The provost marshal initially tried to prevent the public release of his response to the commission’s findings but reversed that decision after the complaints commissioner asked for a judicial review in the Federal Court.

Despite the change of heart, Mr. Stannard said the provost marshal maintains the right to control what the complaints commissioner can and cannot do with the military response, including preventing it from being published.

“This is unacceptable,” said Mr. Stannard, who said he will continue with the court action. “The notice of action is a statutory document the parties and the public are entitled to see in its entirety. The commission believes the (provost marshal) has no right to control whether, how or when the notice of action will be published.”

Colonel Rob Delaney, the Provost Marshal, apologized to the Fynes in a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying the military police failed to live up to their expectations.

"We are fully committed to learning from these mistakes to ensure that no family has to endure what they have," said Col. Delaney.

Cpl. Langridge’s lifeless body was found hanging in his Edmonton Barracks in 2008. He had been commended for his performance early in his military career but, since returning from Afghanistan in 2004, he had been depressed, he was suffering from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder which was never diagnosed, and he had made several unsuccessful attempts to take his own life.

Cpl. Langridge died while under a suicide watch. His body was left hanging for hours after his body was discovered. And the suicide note he left for his parents was not delivered to them for 14 months.

The complaints commission found that the Fynes’ allegations of bias and lack of independence on the part of the military police were unsubstantiated. And it did not make any findings about whether Cpl. Langridge actually suffered from PTSD, or whether the military had offered him proper care and supervision during the years he was depressed.

These are matters that are undoubtedly of grave concern to the Fynes and some of them should have been investigated, said Mr. Stannard. “The failure to do so is one of the defects in the investigation the military police conducted.”


The actual report as well as the Provost Marshall's Notice of Action (response to the report) are available at these sites:

English http://www.mpcc-cppm.gc.ca/03/303/index-eng.aspx and French  http://www.mpcc-cppm.gc.ca/03/303/index-fra.aspx

Mods. I thought we would have a thread active for this but couldn't find it. Please feel free to move if appropriate.

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Re: Military Police Complaints Commission - Fynes Public Hearing.
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 01:49:35 »
From McLean's - The Minister responds:

Military cops guilty of “wrongdoing and incompetence”: Kenney
Watchdog identifies “serious flaws” in investigation of Cpl. Stuart Langridge’s suicide

The Canadian Press
March 11, 2015
 
OTTAWA – Defence Minister Jason Kenney says a report by a federal watchdog has clearly demonstrated military police were guilty of “wrongdoing and incompetence” in their investigations, and he promises to fix that.

He was responding to questions before a Commons committee Wednesday about the scathing findings of the Military Police Complaints Commission, which conducted an exhaustive investigation into the handling of Cpl. Stuart Langridge’s suicide.

The watchdog said it identified “serious flaws” in three separate investigations into Langridge’s death, and painted a portrait of a police service where officers were unsupervised and even lacking in basic policing techniques.

The report included 46 recommendations for improvement, the vast majority of which were rejected by the Canadian Forces National Investigative Service, which oversees military cops.

Kenney told the all-party committee that he’s only read a summary of the report, but what he has seen is “unacceptable” and promised to meet with the provost marshal.

Col. Rob Delaney, the head of military police, apologized to the family, but a statement from their lawyer on Wednesday called it “completely insincere"


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Re: Stuart Langridge, R.I.P. (suicide, MP probe - merged)
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2015, 14:36:28 »
The Commission report itself clearly stated that while the investigations may have been flawed there is no doubt that the outcome of the investigations would have been any different and no criminal charges are warranted.  Bottom line is, the rest of the issues are within the scope of a BOI, not a criminal investigation.  The MPs look for criminality only.  The Commission report also clearly outlines 3 previous apologies the family has received from various members of the CoC.  A fourth was made by the CFPM on CTV and yet a 5th was offered to be given in person but it was rejected by Drapeau who pre-concluded it wouldn't be sincere.  Sadly the family will never be satisfied with any outcome.   

There is going to be plenty of speculation and "monday morning quarterbacking" by people that have never read the investigations reports, read the commission transcripts or the almost 1400 page MPCC report and who will just go by what is reported in the press and by the Commissioner which is all highly politicised.  Nothing will change that.

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Re: Stuart Langridge, R.I.P. (suicide, MP probe - merged)
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 03:18:47 »
SL,

I can`t agree with your comments. Having just completed reading all the public material (as I am guessing that you have) we can say that the Commission report clearly states that the three investigations were deeply flawed. The Commission agrees that the investigation into the exact nature of his death (suicide) would not have changed. But it does not say that no criminal or service charges would be warranted. What it does say is that based on the incompleteness of the three investigations that we are unable to determine without further investigation if any criminal or service offences were committed.

As far as the apologies that were given in the course of this incident. I hope that you are not trying to imply that simple apologies (at least one of which was given over the phone when the family was called accidentally by a senior member of the MPs who felt cornered into the situation) would be accepted by the family as sincere after the treatment that is described by the Commission that the family consistently received over a number of years.   

The Commission may be politicized but in reading the material, the CFPM has agreed that the investigations were not conducted correctly and did not refute the conclusions of the Commission. In fact he had very little comment overall. I was disappointed in the repetitiveness or lack of comments on the Notice of Action. The CFPMs comment that since 2008 the (whole) CFNIS has gained "considerable" experience in sudden death investigation by the 173 (it lists 178 in another note) investigations they have been involved in as not actually inspiring. That isn`t really a substantial number unless you are going to tell me that the CFNIS is now only 2 to 3 investigators. The Commissions belief that being involved in 15 sudden death investigations qualifies them to act as a lead investigator is also I feel woefully inadequate.   

This situation is one that all police officers regret and we can only hope that it will never happen again. From my experience with members of the MP group this whole episode is not indicative of their professionalism. It just appears to be a series of errors that they can`t seem to face up to and get past. Hopefully that has changed.

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Re: Stuart Langridge, R.I.P. (suicide, MP probe - merged)
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2015, 00:21:33 »
"At 1602 hrs, paramedics XXXX XXXX and XXXX XXXX of St. Albert Fire Service Ambulance attended the scene. They confirmed there were no vital signs, noting the skin was cold and clammy, and purple in colour, and departed at 1610 hrs."

"16. We believe that correct procedure should have been to cut down Cpl Langridge’s body and check for vital signs. His body should then have been immediately taken by ambulance to hospital for pronouncement of death."

I served in a different jurisdiction. But, from what I have read, I think the two Alberta Paramedics who were sent to the call handled it the same way we would have.
ie: When a hanging victim was obviously dead, we didn't lower the body or transport.

Exceptions were sometimes made when family members were on scene. If they were unable to handle the situation ie: unable to accept that sudden death had occurred, and were demanding action, the body was lowered, patient care was initiated and the deceased was transported by ambulance to the local hospital. But, the family was not on the scene of this call, and the body was not in a public place.

Also, whenever possible, rather than cut hanging victims down, we grasped their lower limbs, raising them to take the weight off the rope, and removed the rope from around their necks. Our Directive was/is: "The rope should be cut only if it cannot be readily slipped off and in such a way that the knot will be preserved." ( Not sure what the SOP is in Alberta. )





 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 17:36:12 by mariomike »

Offline TCBF

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Re: Stuart Langridge, R.I.P. (suicide, MP probe - merged)
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 00:59:05 »
- Without drawing any similarities to this case, as a general comment, I think that DND often ties its own hands behind its back by limiting the scope of its investigations. I think soldiers who actually served with the subject both in Canada and overseas should be on the stand testifying as to the subjects behaviour and reactions throughout his/her career, and perhaps even before that.

But, again, this is meant to be in a general context and in no way should be read as pertaining to this specific case.

Note: Regarding the Trooper, I have heavily edited my initial post and will await the final resolution of this matter in the courts before I make my opinions known.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 01:07:00 by TCBF »
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Re: Stuart Langridge, R.I.P. (suicide, MP probe - merged)
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 09:07:10 »
MM

The procedure is the same in Alberta. When obviously dead EMS would not have treated the deceased further and are not to transport him/her to a hospital.