Last fall, the Kelowna, BC, RCMP apologized to an Okanagan woman and admitted that a local officer initially failed to properly investigate her complaint of sexual assault.

Now the police have admitted that the officer in question was appointed as a reservist after the charges against her were substantiated.

The situation raises questions about the police’s liability.

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Last October, police released a final report on allegations that a Kelowna RCMP officer had abused a charge of sexual assault.

The investigation found const. Lesley Smith failed in her duty and displayed an improper attitude in the way she handled a sexual assault report.

Smith had formally retired from power weeks earlier, but police have now admitted she was sworn back as a reservist on October 22, the day after the report was released supporting the allegations.

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“I find this a strange situation because it does not really fit the definition of what is required, the minimum requirements to be a reserve officer right on the RCMP website say they must be of good character and retired and resign has a good reputation, ”said retired RCMP official Bruce Pitt-Payne.

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Pitt-Payne is questioning the reappointment as it was found that Smith wrote something untrue in the RCMP case file.

Smith wrote the woman who filed the complaint of sexual assault did not want to file charges while that was not the case.

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“It completely affected her integrity,” Pitt-Payne said.

“I’m worried if I’m questioning how the RCMP can hire her back as a reservist when of course she does not meet the criteria and it actually makes me wonder if this is the best they can do?”

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Pitt-Payne said reservists work on a part-time basis, as needed, to fill full-time employees.

“They are fully trained members who do exactly what any other RCMP member would do, which is the good part, but now you can see the bad part when that responsibility is so high and you have a situation like this,” he said. Pitt Payne said.

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The woman who originally filed the complaint against Smith questioned why a more serious Code of Conduct investigation had not been launched.

Global News posed the question to the RCMP in November.

“I will refer you to our E-division’s communication for specific things related to behavior, except to say that Superintendent Triance believes in holding the membership accountable. In this particular case, the person did retire which limits our abilities in certain respects, ”said Inspector Adam MacIntosh of the Kelowna RCMP in November 2021.

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We now know Smith was sworn back as a reservist the day after a report was issued to the complainant substantiating concerns about her police work.

Global News does not identify the complainant because she is the alleged victim of sexual assault.

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“I think they kind of found a loophole for her to get out of the Code of Conduct investigation,” the complainant said.

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While Smith did receive operational guidance on how to better deal with sexual assault complaints, the complainant is concerned about the level of liability.

“The person who investigated my complaint against her was also a reservist so that she could be in this position again,” the complainant said.

“Because that code of conduct trial was never investigated or never took place, she was just stuck in a new role where she could do exactly the same thing to someone else.”

A communications officer from the RCMP E division rejected an interview request, saying that public complaints are covered by privacy legislation.

In a statement, the RCMP said, in general, complaints could result in a range of different outcomes, including operational guidance, as was the case for Smith.

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“These guidelines are not intended to be punitive, but affirmative, so that the officer who was the subject of the complaint has the opportunity to learn from the incident and move forward,” staffg. Janelle Shoihet, Senior Media Relations Officer for RCMP E Division.

RCMP confirmed Smith remains employed on an “as and when required basis.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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