OPCC boss Dirk Ryneveld
helped cover up police misconduct

The former police complaint commissioner’s
positive image belied the decisions he made
when no one of importance was watching

Dirk Ryneveld is an establishment lawyer, a sometime Crown attorney
and a former a war crimes prosecutor. But when he was B.C.’s police complaint
commissioner, Ryneveld proved himself to be a dishonest public official.


Dirk Ryneveld headed the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner from 2003 to 2009. During that time he was canny enough to cultivate a positive public image. But he was in fact a dishonest public official who supported police misconduct.

Ryneveld generally received benign or even favourable media coverage, especially from the OPCC-friendly Victoria Times Colonist. When Ryneveld’s term ended that paper ran a fulsome eulogy which quoted Ryneveld praising himself in terms of a Biblical parable:

“The job I set out to do isn’t finished and it’s disappointing to not have the opportunity to see it come to fruition. However, some sow the seeds, others water and nourish it, and yet others reap the harvest. I hope my successor will be in a position to reap the harvest and enhance the process.”

Ryneveld got away with that crap after he followed up on the Frank Paul case and others brought forward by the influential Pivot Legal Society. On the surface he seemed to be a welcome change from his publicly discredited predecessor, Don Morrison.

(But I think Morrison’s undoing came from an OPCC staff mutiny that had little or nothing to do with his refusal to act on the Frank Paul case. OPCC staff complained about Morrison’s “bullying” management style. Frank Paul might have been used only as extra ammunition against Morrison. As the Vancouver police assault on a disabled woman shows, nothing has changed at the OPCC.)

Ryneveld also struck a pose by saying he wanted improvements to the Police Act. “I’ve been advocating for reform from almost the day I took office,” he claimed.

But that pretense was betrayed by his support for the obviously dishonest work of deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce M. Brown.

Ryneveld’s response to my complaint was so brazen that I think it reflects how he and Brown handled other cases when no one of importance was watching — in other words, the vast majority of cases.

The work that Brown did, and Ryneveld supported, on my complaint was so unbelievably sloppy that it took a lengthy letter to dissect it. But the more manifest problems include the way Brown rationalized wildly contradictory statements made against me, Brown’s refusal to act on a violation of the Privacy Act (the Pivot Legal Society later found these violations to be an ongoing problem with Vancouver police) and, worst of all, Brown’s dishonest interpretation of a straightforward section of the Criminal Code.

Ryneveld supported every aspect of Brown’s work, showing himself to be a liar too.

Ryneveld is now an establishment lawyer with the Victoria law firm of McConnan, Bion, O’Connor & Peterson, where he sometimes conducts freelance prosecutions for the Crown. From 1999 to 2003 he worked on Yugoslav war crimes prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague. His work with the OPCC can only make you wonder about establishment lawyers, Crown attorneys and the war crimes process.


Dirk Ryneveld now acts as legal counsel
for the Saanich Police Department

This is a sweet deal — especially since it was under his watch
that the OPCC exonerated four Saanich cops for what might be
one of the most vicious Taser assaults ever committed in Canada. More...
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