No charges in Layton massage parlour leak

The Ontario Provincial Police aren't laying charges in a leak about the 1996 visit to a massage parlour that found NDP Leader Jack Layton inside.
The Ontario Provincial Police announced Thursday they won't lay charges over a leak about a 1996 investigation that found NDP Leader Jack Layton, seen here in Toronto on May 3, getting a massage at a suspected bawdy house. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The Ontario Provincial Police aren't laying charges in a leak about the 1996 visit to a massage parlour that found NDP Leader Jack Layton inside.

The police force was investigating the information leak about the 1996 incident at the request of the Toronto Police Service, whose officers raided a suspected bawdy house posing as a massage parlour in 1996.

One of the officers found Layton inside. Layton said he wasn't aware it was a bawdy house and never went back. He was never arrested or charged.

Serving officers are sworn not to leak information to the public. But a retired officer involved in the visit let a reporter see his notebooks from the investigation in the final days of the election campaign that saw the NDP more than double its seats in the House of Commons and become the Official Opposition.

CBC News has learned a private investigator was scouring police and court records the week before the election, looking for information on Layton.

"The investigation has concluded and criminal charges will not be laid," said a statement released by the provincial police.

"The investigation resulted in the returning of a number of police notebooks to the Toronto Police Service that were in the possession of a former member."

Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash told CBC News that the force is doing an internal review on procedures related to retired officers keeping their police memo books, which are police property.

The notebooks contain officers' notes, suspicions and evidence that, at the time recorded, have not been tested in court.

"We're going to see if any changes [in policy] need to be made," Pugash said.

Pugash told CBC News that a retired officer is beyond the reach of the Ontario Police Services Act, which governs discipline issues. The Toronto police will take no further action, now that the OPP have ruled out any criminal breach of trust.

A provincial police spokesman confirmed to CBC News that it was a former Toronto police officer who gave an interview to a reporter about the raid.

"But the investigation also determined there weren't grounds to lay criminal charges," said spokesman Dave Ross.

A spokeswoman for the NDP said she had no comment on the news.

Layton denies wrongdoing

The story broke last Friday. Both Layton and his wife, NDP MP Olivia Chow, said he did nothing wrong.

"It's unfortunate to see the smear campaign starting in these last few days of the campaign," Layton told reporters before a rally in Courtenay, B.C., last week.

"Absolutely nothing wrong was done but yet the smears start."

Chow said in a statement she had been aware of her husband's appointment and the massage clinic was registered with the City of Toronto.