Secrecy of police board hearing in Thunder Bay, Ont., must be reconsidered, appeal court rules

A retired judge will have to decide anew whether to keep secret a hearing that will decide if police officers should face disciplinary proceedings for their investigation into the death of an Indigenous man, Ontario's top court ruled on Friday.

The appeal raises important questions about the openness of police board hearings as guaranteed by the charter, the Court of Appeal said in its decision.

The case arose in October 2015, when the body of Stacy DeBungee, 41, was found in the McIntyre River in Thunder Bay, Ont. Within hours, the Thunder Bay Police Service said his death was not suspicious and closed its investigation.

DeBungee's brother and the chief of the Rainy River First Nations complained to the province's police oversight agency, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. In February 2018, the office found evidence existed to suggest the officers involved in the death investigation had committed misconduct.


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