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No charges for police officers who surveilled MLA illegally

The provincial prosecutor has declined to file criminal charges against the Lethbridge police officers who surveilled MLA Shannon Phillips, despite there being reasonable grounds to believe they committed a crime, says the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).

In a letter to Phillips dated May 17, ASIRT wrote: “(The agency) determined that there were reasonable grounds to believe that two officers had committed criminal offences by accessing Ms. Phillips’ data.”

“The investigative materials concerning two officers were forwarded to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether their test for prosecution was met. (The agency) received an opinion back that (the service’s) test for prosecution was not met and therefore these individuals will not be charged.”

In 2017, officer Keon Woronuk overheard Phillips and a constituent having a discussion in a coffee shop about a proposal for a new public park. Woronuk, an all-terrain vehicle enthusiast, was concerned that the proposed park might affect his pastime. Woronuk subsequently posted photos of the meeting and details of what he overheard to social media under a pseudonym.

Woronuk was convicted on five violations of the Police Services Act, including wrongly subjecting Phillips to a police database search, using his position as a police officer for political purposes, and singling out Phillips for traffic enforcement. A second officer, Jason Carrier, was convicted of two Police Services Act violations for acting as Woronuk’s accomplice.

Shannon Phillips