APTN National News
Thunder Bay’s police Chief Jean-Paul Levesque is facing charges of obstruction of justice and breach of trust in connection with allegedly disclosing confidential information about the city’s mayor Keith Hobbs, according to a court document.
The OPP announced Wednesday Levesque was charged following a five-month investigation which began with the RCMP’s Ontario branch before it was passed on to the provincial police agency.
According to the information sheet filed with the Ontario Court of Justice and describes the nature of a charge, Levesque allegedly disclosed confidential information about Hobbs between Dec. 14 and Dec. 22, 2016. The document does not reveal what sort of information was disclosed.
Hobbs recently announced he wouldn’t be seeking reelection.
The information sheet also stated Levesque is forbidden from contacting Hobbs, his wife Marisa Hobbs, along with the city manager Norm Gale, members of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, including Chair Jacqueline Dojack and vice-chair Brian McKinnon, who is also city councilor,
and police deputy chief Sylvie Hauth.
Levesque is currently on medical leave.
Julian Falconer, a lawyer who has battled the Thunder Bay police over its failures around investigating the deaths of Indigenous peoples in the city, criticized the OPP for releasing scant information about the investigating and the charges against such a consequential figure like a city police chief.
“You only need to consider all of the displays you have seen by police leadership when they’ve laid big charges that are of public profiles, tables where the items seized in the search and seizure are laid out for the world to see…and the police having a press conference of the allegations,” said Falconer. “Compare and contrast how those situations are handled versus when a chief of police is charged. Is it handled in the same way?”
The OPP press release on Levesque’s charges offered no information on the nature of the alleged offences “to protect the integrity of the investigation and the ongoing court processes.”
Levesque’s lawyer Brian Gover said in a statement that his client “looks forward to fully responding to the allegations against him, and to his ultimate vindication.”