Dunn suggests MLA Shannon Phillips attempted to influence the officers’ disciplinary proceedings
Lawyer for five Lethbridge officers implicated in 'meme-gate' files letter of complaint against MLA Shannon Phillips to legislative speaker
The lawyer for five Lethbridge police officers wants the speaker of the Alberta Legislature to sanction MLA Shannon Phillips for what he labels 'slanderous' tweets.
The lawyer for five Lethbridge police officers implicated in the so-called “meme-gate” scandal wants the speaker of the Alberta Legislature to sanction MLA Shannon Phillips for what he labels “slanderous” tweets.
In a letter sent to Speaker Nathan Cooper, and provided to Postmedia by one of the officers on condition his name is withheld, defence counsel Greg Dunn suggests Phillips attempted to influence the officers’ disciplinary proceedings.
The letter, dated Dec. 1, complains of tweets posted by Phillips a day before two of the officers appeared before disciplinary proceeding Presiding Officer Paul Manuel, a retired Calgary Police Service superintendent.
“I will let the parlance and professionalism of the tweets speak for themselves, however of concern to me as a member of the Bar in the Province of Alberta is the unmitigated attack on the integrity of a statutorily regulated judicial process and its participants,” Dunn wrote.
Among the inappropriate comments by Phillips, the lawyer wrote, were a suggestion “the police disciplinary hearing is corrupt with the intention to ‘cover up’ evidence,” and one which “insinuates that the participants in the police disciplinary hearing are colluding in furtherance of a ‘nice deal’ for the officers and to ‘hide’ evidence from the public.”
Dunn also said the tweets attacked the integrity of Lethbridge Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh, “stating that he will ‘get away’ with withholding evidence,” and slandered the five officers by calling them “dumbasses” and labeling one a “loser.”
Last week, two of the officers were demoted in rank by two grades after admitting two counts each of discreditable conduct and one of insubordination for sharing memes and other messages found to be “profane, abusive and insulting.”
A third is facing a disciplinary hearing in January after pleading guilty to five of six counts of misconduct, while two others have resigned for unrelated reasons and are no longer subject to proceedings.
Dunn asked Cooper to take “whatever corrective measures” he deems fit for Phillips’ conduct.
“The comments of the Honourable Member strike to the heart of a judicial independence and serve to undermine the public confidence in the administration of justice,” he said.
“They are slanderous, false and simply fall far beneath the station to which a member of the Legislature of Alberta ought to be held.”
Dunn indicated he raised his concerns before Manual, but the hearing officer “was of the view that he lacked the requisite jurisdiction to admonish (Phillips) for her conduct.”