Nova Scotia

Halifax deputy police chief suspended

Deputy Chief Chris McNeil has been suspended with pay from Halifax Regional Police while investigators look into allegations he might have lied under oath.

Deputy Chief Chris McNeil has been suspended with pay from Halifax Regional Police while investigators look into allegations he might have lied under oath.

Few details are known, but Chief Frank Beazley told senior police officers about the suspension on Wednesday, CBC News has learned.

The investigation under the Police Act will look at whether McNeil committed perjury in a case involving his brother, Sgt. Anthony McNeil, also a Halifax police officer. The two men are brothers of provincial Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil.

Deputy Chief McNeil was interviewed during two separate investigations into Halifax police officers and their involvement with a private lie-detector company that did work for the municipality.

The private company, which is run by off-duty police officers, gave polygraph tests to prospective firefighters. The testing service wasn't tendered, however.

There has been no decision on whether any of the officers — one of whom is Anthony McNeil — contravened the Police Act by being involved in the company.

As part of a continuing review of the company, Deputy Chief McNeil was interviewed twice — once under oath, during a formal police review board, and once not under oath during a separate internal review involving his brother Anthony.

A source told CBC News there was a discrepancy in what the deputy chief testified to under oath and what he said during the separate internal investigation involving his brother. The latter version favoured his brother.

Chief sought advice

Beazley hired prominent defence lawyer Joel Pink to give him a legal opinion on whether McNeil might have committed perjury. Pink said Thursday he was unable to comment because of solicitor-client privilege. Police are saying little about the matter.

Const. Brian Palmeter, spokesman for Halifax Regional Police, said it is an internal personnel matter and he was unable to provide any detail or identify the officer involved.

"I think that we've got a very good track record for investigating our own police officers when we've had cause to," Palmeter told CBC News on Thursday. "We've had cases where we've had to lay charges based on the evidence that's there, and we haven't shied away from that."

Palmeter said an outside police agency is now investigating the matter and said there is no specific timeline for the investigation.

"Ideally, what we want to do is make sure we do a full and thorough job so that there's a clear indication that a proper investigation has been done so that the outcome is not in question."

A second officer has been suspended on a separate matter, police said.