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Court rules Alberta MLA can appeal part of disciplinary decision for police officer

Click to play video: 'Final arguments made on Lethbridge MLA’s LPS surveillance appeal'
Final arguments made on Lethbridge MLA’s LPS surveillance appeal
WATCH ABOVE: (From Dec. 7, 2021) The final arguments in the law enforcement review board hearing regarding the improper surveillance of Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips were heard Tuesday. Erik Bay has more from the hearing. – Dec 7, 2021

The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled a member of the legislative assembly can ask for a review on whether provincial rules allow for a presiding officer to temporarily demote a police officer.

Shannon Phillips, who represents Lethbridge West for the Opposition NDP, has said two officers from the Lethbridge Police Service should be fired after they admitted to unauthorized surveillance on her when she was a provincial cabinet minister in 2017.

Click to play video: 'Acting police chief calls actions of Lethbridge officers who surveilled MLA an ‘embarassment’'
Acting police chief calls actions of Lethbridge officers who surveilled MLA an ‘embarassment’

One of the officers was demoted from senior constable to first-class constable for two years, later resigning, and the other was reduced in rank to senior constable from sergeant for one year.

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She appealed the penalty decisions from a disciplinary hearing to the Law Enforcement Review Board.

READ MORE: Final arguments made on Lethbridge MLA’s LPS surveillance appeal

The board ruled against her in March, and she took the case against the sergeant to the Court of Appeal.

Alberta’s top court says she can appeal the temporary demotion, but dismissed some other aspects she had questioned.

“Ms. Phillips’ application is allowed, in part,” says the decision released Tuesday.

“She is granted permission to appeal on the following question of law: Does the Police Service Regulation… authorize a presiding officer to impose a time-limited reduction of seniority within a rank… or reduction in rank… and to direct a return to previous rank?”

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