Welcome to our resources page. We have posted what we think are some really interesting cases, draft investigative templates and policies that you can adapt for your own use if you wish, articles about how to investigate and other information you might find useful.
We keep on adding material, so please do check out the page from time to time.
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Report Writing for Investigators
“ The chances of me enjoying writing an investigative report? About the same as me becoming the New Face of L’Oreal. ” …………………………………………………………………………………………
People who do investigations generally like investigating. Sorting out what the issues are, coming up with a plan, interviewing, that Eureka moment when you find something in an email or a cell phone bill. Finding out what actually happened. It’s fun. What’s there not to like… other than the report writing? (Read more)
Report Writing for Investigators
Ensuring your readers don’t lose the will to live ……………………………………………………………………………..
In Part One, we looked at how to make report writing a bit less of a burden. Here are a few more tips:
Short sentences. People often enjoy an opportunity to breathe as they read. Do you really need that ‘and’? Or will a point/full stop work better? Avoid conjunctions, if you can. (Read more)
Report Writing For Investigators
You’ve Been Framed …………………………………………………………………….
In the last couple of posts, we covered some tips for good report writing, with a bunch of tips on how to make the process easier. The link to the posts is at the end of this one. This time we look at an 8-step framework for writing investigation reports that can be adapted for virtually any kind of investigation. (Read more)
Report Writing For Investigators
IRAC and Roll …………………………………………………………………….
In the last 3 posts, we talked about general approaches to good report writing and an 8-segment template for writing reports. The template can be adapted for any kind of investigation. In this post, we look at a methodology for setting out your findings and conclusions, once you have finished gathering all the evidence. (Read more)
Undertaking Effective Investigations: A Guide For National Human Rights Institutions
The Asia Pacific Forum asked Gareth to write a manual on how to conduct investigations for front line human rights investigators in the Asia Pacific region. It has just been published. The manual offers a ton of information on investigative techniques and approaches (Read more)
They may be workplace related cases, but they are examples of serious investigative errors that could happen in any type of investigation. We feature aspects of these and other similar cases in our courses.
- R v. Goro
Ontario Superior Court Feb 2017
This 2017 case touches on the Reid technique of interviewing, as well as providing an example of the age-old ‘bankers box’ trick – staging a room to make an interviewee think that the investigators have more evidence than they actually have. (Read the case)
- Tousif Ahmed v. College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba
Manitoba Court of Appeal December 2017
This case discusses inconsistencies when assessing evidence as well as explaining why you have reached a conclusion about someone’s credibility (Read the case)
- R v. Shields
BC Provincial Court December 2017
This Dec 2017 case shows the difficulties of assessing evidence in he said/ she said cases where both parties appear reasonably credible (Read the case)
- Ludchen v. Stelcrete ( 2014)
A workplace case that includes several investigative screw-ups, including the failure of the investigator to take proper notes. As a result the judge found that the investigator had no credibility. (Read the case)
- Elgert v. Home Hardware ( 2011)
An Alberta case that demonstrates the huge costs – financial, operational and emotional – that can be incurred when a workplace investigation is not done properly from the very beginning. It makes scary reading for any investigator. (Read the case)
- El-Helou v. Courts Administration Service (2012)
This Federal Court judgment is a scathing indictment of an investigation into allegations of harassment. The Court found the investigation took too long, failed to interview witnesses who clearly should have been interviewed and broke virtually every principle of procedural fairness in the book. (Read the case)
- Tessier v Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission: Supreme Court of Nova
This is a short, clear judgment that sets out why investigators should interview key witnesses. The complainant was a female firefighter who alleged discrimination and harassment in her workplace. The judge was critical that the investigator(s) had accepted written responses from the respondents without exploring whether there was ‘additional, crucial information’ that the respondents might be able to offer, and for not conducting ‘thorough and critically minded interviews’ with them to obtain that information.
The judge found that the failure to conduct interviews of key witnesses amounted to a breach of procedural fairness, and ordered the matter be re-investigated.
He also commented on assessing the quality of interviews that were done,
using the following test:
An investigation may be called into question when the interviews are conducted so superficially as to raise serious doubts that any relevant information was gathered by the investigator (at paragraph 57)
However, he also noted that an investigator has considerable discretion to ‘choose which questions to ask of their witnesses and how best to gather information’ (Read the case)
- City of Hamilton v Amalgamated Transit Union: Arbitration (2013)
Another workplace sexual harassment case, this time involving a female inspector who worked for the City of Hamilton public transportation service. She alleged gross harassment and sexual harassment over a period of years by her immediate supervisor. The case went to arbitration in 2013.
There are lots of interesting aspects to this case, including the arbitrator finding that the City failed to explore potentially systemic issues, failed to treat the complaint seriously or deal with it promptly and sensitively and that the initial investigation by the City fell ‘far short of what was reasonably required’ (at paragraph 140). The arbitrator also was critical of the investigator for compelling the complainant to put her complaint in writing, not separating the parties in the workplace as the investigation was on-going and not providing a written summary of the findings to the complainant.
What may be of particular interest is the use of forensic experts to retrieve contentious emails. These proved to be a key factor in the eventual ruling. Two experts were eventually involved, one on each side. The arbitrator was quite critical of one, as per paragraph 142 of the arbitration. Given that it highly likely that digital evidence such as emails will become increasingly more important in all kinds of investigation, there are lessons to be learned from this case about using expert forensic witnesses.(Read the case)
Ogden v Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: Supreme Court of British Columbia (2014)
A lengthy judgment into a case of unfair alleged dismissal of a high performing employee.
The interesting aspect of this case from an investigator’s perspective is the judge’s comments on the interview of the employee by an internal CIBC investigator. The preparation for, and conduct of the interview, is set out at paragraph 191 onward.
The judge was scathing in his criticism of the interview. His comments are at paragraph 410 onward. These are the main points.
- Failed to determine key facts
- Cut the interviewee off
- Was not interested in her explanation
- Did not provide the interviewee with a reasonable opportunity to explain her conduct
- Jumped to conclusions and made assumptions
The interviewer’s approach, according to the judge ‘undermined its very purpose.’
The judgment has several other interesting points, including that senior management who were deciding Ms. Ogden’s fate should have sent the investigator back to get the information needed, as it hadn’t been gathered it the first time round. (Read the case)
Article on Workplace Investigations
Read Gareth’s article on the challenges of workplace investigations, published in Canadian HR Reporter.
Workplace Investigations: Getting Beyond He Said, She Said. Canadian HR Reporter article. Reproduced with permission from the Jan 30th 2012 Canadian HR Reporter. (Read the Article)
Workplace Investigations: Where And Why They Fail. By Gareth Jones, published in www.hrvoice.org. (Read the Article)
Templates and Investigation Policies
1. Investigation Planning Template
Gareth’s courses often include segments on how to plan an investigation. He has developed an investigation planning template that can be easily adapted for any kind of investigation. The template, which is annotated,
Investigation Planning Template Handout
2. Draft digital voice recording policy
Gareth encourages all investigators to digitally voice record all interviews, if at all possible. He has created a draft policy covering this topic, which explains both the rationale and the methodology. It too can be easily adapted to meet the needs of your investigations.
Draft Policy for Digital Voice Recording
You can find more detailed discussion on both topics in the Undertaking Effective Investigations Manual, which is linked above.
Investigating Police and other Law Enforcement Officers
The techniques used to conduct investigations of law enforcement officers are applicable to many other types of investigations.
Here are the links to a two part article co-authored by Gareth and published in the journal of the United States National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers:
Conducting Administrative, Oversight and Ombudsman Investigations
Two book reviews, one by the US National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement ( NACOLE) and the other by the British and Irish Ombudsman’s Association (BIOA). Links here:
Book Review: Conducting Administrative, Oversight & Ombudsman Investigations By Gareth Jones
Gareth’s dulcet tones
Listen to Gareth’s interview with CBC Edmonton Radio on conducting investigations into police pursuits.
Listen to Gareth’s comment on an ongoing high-risk Los Angeles pursuit on KNX 1070.
On April 10, 2015, a Prius taxi was car-jacked by an armed suspect, who then drove it around south LA at slow speeds for a couple of hours, throwing money out of the window. LAPD followed. A bit reminiscent of the OJ pursuit.
As the pursuit was ongoing, Gareth was contacted by KNX 1070, the CBS affiliate radio station in LA. 90 seconds later he was on air, providing context about what was unfolding.
About a minute after Gareth came off the air, LAPD tactical officers took down the suspect, without anyone getting hurt. Job well done by the LAPD in unusual pursuit circumstances – including that it isn’t all that often that you get a car-jacker who is apparently so concerned about his carbon footprint.
Check out Gareth’s live on-air comments here:
Report Writing Sources from Souzanna’s Course