Manitoba

Stayed sex charges should remain on man's record, Winnipeg police conclude

Sex-related charges that were stayed nearly a decade ago should remain on a Winnipeg man's criminal record check, Winnipeg police concluded after conducting a court-imposed re-evaluation.

Michael Kalo says he'll appeal the decision made after court-imposed hearing

On Aug. 15, a one-on-one hearing was held between Michael Kalo, right, and Winnipeg police Insp. Paul Wowchuk to go over details of the stayed charges that appear on his criminal record. (CBC News)

Sex-related charges that were stayed nearly a decade ago should remain on a Winnipeg man's criminal record check, Winnipeg police concluded after conducting a court-imposed re-evaluation.

Last spring, a Manitoba judge severely criticized the process used by Winnipeg police to determine what to disclose on a criminal record check after resident Michael Kalo lost his job due to the sudden appearance of past criminal charges on his vulnerable-sector check.

In a May 30 decision, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sheldon Lanchbery ordered the Winnipeg Police Service to restart the process from square one, while allowing Kalo to present his arguments in-person as to why he believes his record check should be free of non-conviction details.

On Aug. 15, a one-on-one hearing was held between Kalo and a Winnipeg police member to go over details of the charges. For two hours, Kalo presented his arguments to Insp. Paul Wowchuk, who committed to providing a decision within a week.

"Inspector Wowchuk determined that the non-conviction information (stayed charges of sexual assault and sexual interference) should remain as part of the Police Vulnerable Sector Check," read the letter received on Thursday by Kalo.

The revised record check document provided to Kalo did however remove mention of a Family Division-issued restraining order.

"The Winnipeg Police Service seems to finally accept that family orders are a private matter. However, I was greatly disappointed that the stayed charges remain on the certificate, and that no reasons were provided to explain this," said Kalo.

"I intend to appeal the decision to a hearing panel of the WPS, as per my right in accordance with Justice Lanchbery's recent decision," he told CBC News.

Working with kids, vulnerable persons

Since the job application in question involved transporting children with disabilities, Kalo required an enhanced record check, called a Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC).

According to the Winnipeg Police Service's standard operating guidelines for police record checks, in these types of applications the reviewing officer has the discretion to unilaterally decide whether or not to disclose details of non-convictions, generally when an applicant may be a child sexual predator or has a history of engaging in fraud schemes but has never been found guilty.

For example, an accused person could have serious charges against them stayed because of trial delays, but police may still feel they pose a risk to certain members of the public.

City appealing original court decision

Just hours after Kalo attended his hearing last week, city lawyers launched an appeal against Justice Lanchbery's order that made that very hearing possible.

The notice of appeal filed on Aug. 16 claims among other things that Lanchbery made several legal and factual errors in his ruling. It also claims that he overstepped his bounds by imposing a framework on police for determining how they assess exceptional disclosures on record checks.

Kalo said he intends to file a cross-appeal.

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