A B.C. Mountie who’s been on paid leave for nearly four years while waiting for a disciplinary hearing has been cleared.
The RCMP has withdrawn five allegations against Osoyoos Constable Amit Goyal, including disgraceful conduct.
His lawyer, John Benkendof, says it came after they provided prosecutors with new, incontrovertible evidence.
“I just hope that people don’t form the impression that this is some kind of legal technicality that resulted in him being acquitted. He’s been exonerated here, this is a finding of innocence. And we’re happy to sit down with anybody at any time and show them all of the evidence that we have,” Benkendof says.
In a statement, the RCMP says that evidence meant no reasonable chance of substantiating the allegations against Goyal.
“The investigation was flawed, there were mistakes that were made and assumptions that were made by the investigators that weren’t supportable when you dug down deeper into it,” Benkendof says.
He was accused of stealing and torching two cars under his care, though was never criminally charged.
But internal discipline ground on for years, with multiple delays and schedule changes.
A CKNW investigation earlier this year raised questions about those delays, after it emerged Goyal had acted as a whistleblower against a senior officer in 2010.
Benkendof says Goyal doesn’t hold a grudge and wants to get back on the job as soon as possible.
“Your career is basically over:” MPPA says RCMP have some explaining to do
But Rob Creasser with the Mounted Police Professional Association says the force has some explaining to do on why Goyal was sidelined for almost four years.
He says the break has put Goyal in professional purgatory, and it will likely stain his career.
“Well it’s horrible. There’s no two ways about it. You are, your career is basically over. You don’t think that that member is going to be blackballed for the rest of his career for standing up for himself?”
Creasser says the RCMP discipline process lacks transparency and can be stacked against officers.
He says discipline needs to be taken over by an independent body.