What is a Witness Officer?
A Witness Officer is an officer involved in or present during the incident who is not a Subject Officer. Under the Police Act, a Witness Officer is compelled to cooperate with an IIO investigation. This will generally include participating in an interview and submitting materials including notes and documents for review by the IIO in the course of its investigation. A Witness Officer may also be required to assist in a reconstruction of the incident.
The statutory duty on a Witness Officer to fully cooperate has been interpreted expansively by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, including the duty of a Witness Officer to attend IIO interviews as and when the IIO directs, that the attendance of Witness Officer’s counsel and union representatives at IIO interviews is at the IIO’s discretion, and that the production of pre-interview disclosure to a Witness Officer is at the discretion of the IIO.
Information provided by a Witness Officer is inadmissible in evidence in court in a civil proceeding for remedies against that officer in relation to the matter under investigation.