Kitchener-Waterloo

Guelph police defend decision not to publicize MP Marwan Tabbara's arrest

Police in Guelph, Ont., say they didn't inform the public about assault charges against a Kitchener-area MP because the force didn't believe he posed a significant risk to the public.

MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler arrested on April 10

Marwan Tabbara is the MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler. Tabbara says he has taken a step back from his role and is currently being treated for 'anxiety and depression.' (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Police in Guelph, Ont., say they didn't inform the public about assault charges against a member of Parliament because the force didn't believe he posed a significant risk to the public.

Marwan Tabbara, who represents the riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler, was arrested on April 10 and charged with assault, break and enter and harassment, but the Guelph Police Service did not make that information public. The charges became public on June 5 when CBC News and Global reported on them.

In a release on Thursday, police cited a section of the Police Services Act that says chiefs of police — and their designates — have the right to release information to the public if they believe the accused person poses a risk to the public and making the information available would reduce that risk.

They say the police service's media relations unit was not informed of Tabbara's arrest.

News of the charges against the two-term MP didn't come out until last week when Tabbara said he would be taking a "step back" from the Liberal caucus.

The Prime Minister's Office said it only learned about the charges last Friday morning and was "looking into the matter."

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