RCMP seeks to reverse $141,000 harassment ruling – Ontario News

RCMP seeks to reverse $141,000 harassment ruling – Ontario News

Peter Merrifield, president of the Mounted Police Association of Ontario, appears at Senate national security committee to discuss harassment in the RCMP on Monday, May 27, 2013.  (Sean Kilpatrick / Toronto Star) | Order this photo  

OTTAWA—The RCMP has launched a late-hour bid to overturn a scathing judgment last month that ordered the force to pay $141,000 in damages for harassment of one of its own.

Just hours before the 30-day deadline to file had passed, justice lawyers acting on a request from the RCMP filed a notice with the Ontario Court of Appeal that it is seeking review of the lower court’s findings.

Superior Court Justice Mary Vallée last month slammed the RCMP’s “outrageous” treatment of Sgt. Peter Merrifield, whose political ambitions to be a federal Conservative candidate in 2005 ran afoul of his bosses’ views of proper conduct.

In its appeal papers filed Wednesday the RCMP said it will argue that the trial judge got virtually everything wrong, from findings of fact and conclusions about the credibility of witnesses, to matters of law.

The RCMP intends to argue she was wrong to conclude Merrifield’s senior officers — among others Marc Proulx, now retired, and James Jagoe, still serving — had “a reckless disregard for causing Merrifield to suffer emotional distress” or that their conduct amounted to harassment.

The RCMP says the judge was wrong to conclude that Merrifield “suffered from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, in the absence of any supporting medical evidence” or that the RCMP was in any way responsible if he did.

Reached Thursday after Merrifield was returning from a shift on Prime Minister Justin…

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