Ex-head of police oversight board outraged over wiretaps

A former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, which oversees the force, has called for a probe after revelations that police spied on her dealings with a friend in the early 1990s.

A former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, a civilian agency that oversees the force, is calling for an investigation after revelations that the police department spied on her dealings with a close friend in the early 1990s.

An intelligencereportleaked to CBC News shows officers began wiretapping and conducting surveillance on a close friend and political confidant of Susan Engin May 1991, days after she was sworn in as chair of the police board.

'Of course I'm angry! It's outrageous that they would do this to anybody.'—Susan Eng

Written by Det. Garry Carter, the report says then-superintendent Julian Fantino was extremely concerned Eng's political ally could pose a security risk.

Carterwrote thatthe man — who was thena Toronto criminal lawyer — had a shady past.

In the report, Carter said officers had collected evidence suggesting the man's associates were dealing drugs and convinced the judge to authorize wiretaps on calls with specific people, including those with Eng.

But Eng alleges it was a thin disguise for a way of listening in on her. No charges were ever laid against the friend and Eng calls the allegations "trumped up."

"I think they were a smokescreen for what they were really after, which was a way to surreptitiously monitor conversations they had no business monitoring," Eng said.

She shook with fury as she read for the first time how she had been followed to restaurants and how police obtained judicially-authorized wiretaps on the phones of her friend.

"Of course I'm angry! It's outrageous that they would do this to anybody," said Eng.

"This was not some rogue police officers acting on their own. They were given specific instructions and ordered to do the surveillance," she said.

Thehead of intelligence at the time, Ron Sandelli,denies he ever told Carter to investigate Eng's friend.

Fantino, now head of the Ontario Provincial Police, declined to comment Tuesday.

He saidthrough a spokesman that he wouldn't discuss police matters from so many years ago.