Stan Lowe states
his guiding principle:
Bigshots should be accountable
to no one

“People will not be able to freely exercise their discretion
because they’re concerned about one day
being brought to an inquiry.”


That incredible remark came from police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe in May 2008, when he was a Crown attorney with B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch. Lowe was arguing that people should not have to answer for their decisions — at least not when they’re important people, like Crown attorneys.

Lowe was speaking on behalf of two colleagues who didn’t want to tell a coroner’s inquest why they recommended bail for Peter Lee in summer 2007. They did so despite a credible statement from Lee’s wife, who said he intended to kill her and her family.

The following September Lee did just that. He killed her, their six-year-old son, his wife’s parents and himself.

The coroner’s efforts to have the Crown testify sparked Lowe’s incredible remark, a brazen statement that people (important people, anyway) shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions.

This lack of accountability continues with Lowe’s current job. True, the job came after he was savaged in the media for his shameful decision in the Dziekanski case. But just one week after that decision, with barely a peep from the press, Lowe was appointed B.C.’s police complaint commissioner for municipal cops.

No journalist has publicly asked how Lowe can hold public confidence in such a position after he stated that the five Taser blasts and other brutal treatment inflicted on Dziekanski were “reasonable and necessary.” No journalist has asked how Lowe can hold public confidence when he’s so obviously at odds with Thomas Braidwood’s recommendations on Taser use and Paul Kennedy’s findings on the four RCMP officers involved. No journalist has asked how Lowe can honestly assess evidence when he claimed Dziekanski was resisting arrest — in fact Dziekanski was writhing in pain from the Taser.

Journalists could ask those questions but so far they haven’t.

As for the rest of us, we can’t challenge Lowe on anything. He’s a law unto himself. As police complaint commissioner, Lowe is a statutory officer, an independent officer of the legislature. That means no one, not the Ombudsman, nor any cabinet minister, nor the Speaker nor even the legislature itself can hold him accountable. Lowe faces no watchdog, no oversight, no review, no appeal, no checks and balances, no nothing.

There might be sound reasons why positions like that exist. But the people appointed to those positions must show the highest integrity. It’s fair to ask whether Lowe’s past comments and his decision on the Dziekanski case show such integrity. And while on the subject of integrity, it’s also fair to ask how the hell characters like Rollie Woods and Bruce M. Brown can be entrusted with unaccountable positions. Beyond a doubt, at least two of the ex-cops on Lowe’s crew of ex-cops are clearly biased in favour of cops.

They get away with it because they’re unaccountable. They work for Stan Lowe, an independent officer of the legislature. But in this case, “independent officer” seems to mean no more than “unaccountable bigshot.”

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