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Sgt. Bracken Withheld the Breach Exhibit

from the RCMP Forensic Laboratory

The Document Section of the RCMP Forensic Laboratory produced six Forensic Reports for this case, all authored by document expert Heather Shalley. The front page of each Report contains a list of the exhibits examined at that stage of the investigation, along with the date each exhibit was received. Both factors are important in the analysis of the Breach of Undertaking charge.

Saskatoon police officer Sgt. James Bracken, as lead investigator on the case, had sole control over the storage of the exhibits. Bracken controlled the selection of exhibits to be analyzed. And as the Forensic Reports reveal, Bracken had direct personal involvement in the delivery of each set of exhibits to the RCMP Forensic Laboratory.

There were two delivery methods: Sometimes Bracken sent the exhibits by courier, under his signature, from the Saskatoon Police Station to the RCMP Lab (Document Section) in Regina. Other times, Bracken drove in a car from Saskatoon to Regina to hand-deliver new documents to be examined; sometimes his partner Sgt. William Simpson traveled with him.

RCMP Forensic Reports
# 1 Exhibits 1 to 8 Sept and Oct 2001
# 2 Exhibits 9 to 17 Nov and Dec 2001
# 3 Exhibits 18 to 25 Jan 7, 2002
# 4 Exhibits 26 to 33 Jan and Feb 2002
# 5 Exhibits 34 to 43 April 18, 2002
# 6 Exhibits 4448, 56, 57, 62, 6466 May 23, 2002

Exhibit #83 (a manila envelope plus contents) was the sole evidence for the Breach of Undertaking charge. As the Forensic Reports show, Bracken withheld this exhibit from analysis. Neither the envelope nor the contents of Exhibit #83 was ever submitted to the RCMP Forensic Laboratory; the document examiner never laid eyes on this crucial exhibit.

As shown by the table above, Exhibit #83 does not appear in any of the Forensic Reports. It is not listed on the front cover page of any of the six reports, nor is it found in the various interior sections titled Analytic Methods, Results, Conclusions, or Remarks.  Basic identification details, such as the name and address on the envelope (Jill Strelieff at the Star Phoenix) are also completely absent from the Forensic Reports.

The court transcript confirms this. At the Preliminary Inquiry, the RCMP document examiner Heather Shalley answered this question under oath:

Heather Shalley Testimony

If I may, Your Honor, I'd like to refer to my notes which go through continuity:

I did receive a number of submissions over a period from September 12th, 2001 to May 23rd, 2002.

Sgt. Simpson and Sgt. Bracken delivered the last set of exhibits in 2002, May 23rd.  The primary investigator in this instance was Sgt. Bracken and that is who I dealt with primarily.

Although the Breach envelope bears the clear postmark date of April 11/02, Sgt. Bracken made no mention of this exhibit until the day the Breach of Undertaking charge was laid. That is, Exhibit #83 made its debut in his June 24/02 Occurrence Report. Subsequently, the topic of the Breach was swiftly closed. Two days later, in his Occurrence Report dated June 26/02, Sgt. Bracken wrote: This file is concluded and will require no further follow-up at this time.

In the early months of the investigation, Sgt. Bracken did submit envelopes to the RCMP lab. They total about a dozen. The forensic reports uniquely identify these by citing the address which appears on the front of the envelope, along with the exhibit number. During the investigation, Sgt. Bracken deemed it his role to supply the RCMP lab with some envelopes. Yet he concealed the most critical envelope of the case: the Breach envelope which had grave implications because it was time-sensitive.

Canadian Criminal Code
Protection of Persons Administering and Enforcing the Law

Protection of Persons Acting Under Authority

CCC s 25. (1)  –  Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law

  1. as a private person,
  2. as a peace officer or public officer,
  3. in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or
  4. by virtue of his office,

is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose


CCC s 25.1 (11)  –  Nothing in this section justifies

  1. the intentional or criminally negligent causing of death or bodily harm to another person;
  2. the wilful attempt in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice; or
  3. conduct that would violate the sexual integrity of an individual.
Collection of Evidence

CCC s 25.1 (13)  –  Nothing in this section relieves a public officer of criminal liability for failing to comply with any other requirements that govern the collection of evidence.

Canadian Criminal Code
Offences Against the Administration of Law and Justice:  Corruption and Disobedience

Breach of Trust by Public Officer

CCC s 122  –  Every official who, in connection with the duties of his office, commits fraud or a breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, whether or not the fraud or breach of trust would be an offence if it were committed in relation to a private person.

Misconduct of Officers Executing Process

CCC s 128  –  Every peace officer or coroner who, being entrusted with the execution of a process, wilfully (a) misconducts himself in the execution of the process, or (b) makes a false return to the process, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Canadian Criminal Code
Offences Against the Administration of Law and Justice:  Misleading Justice

Witness Giving Contradictory Evidence

CCC s 136 (1) –  Every one who, being a witness in a judicial proceeding, gives evidence with respect to any matter of fact or knowledge and who subsequently, in a judicial proceeding, gives evidence that is contrary to his previous evidence is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years, whether or not the prior or later evidence or either is true, but no person shall be convicted under this section unless the court, judge or provincial court judge, as the case may be, is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, in giving evidence in either of the judicial proceedings, intended to mislead.

Fabrication of Evidence

CCC s 137  –  Every one who, with intent to mislead, fabricates anything with intent that it shall be used as evidence in a judicial proceeding, existing or proposed, by any means other than perjury or incitement to perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

Obstructing Justice

CCC s 139 (2) –  Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner other than a manner described in subsection (1) to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

Public Mischief

CCC s 140 (1) –  Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by:

  1. making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence;
  2. doing anything intended to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;
  3. reporting that an offence has been committed when it has not been committed.

(2) –  Every one who commits public mischief (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


Georgena S. Sil
Saskatoon, Canada
Physicist & Technical Writer
Alumnus: University of British Columbia
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