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Vision councillors 'suspect' for refusing polygraphs: Ladner

VANCOUVER – Peter Ladner and Suzanne Anton are not impressed. That’s the politest way of putting their reaction to yesterday's news from the Vancouver Police Department that no charges can be laid in the case of the missing Olympic village documents.

Ladner can’t believe the police need people to agree to polygraph tests in order to complete an investigation, can’t believe councillors refused to take them and can’t believe that police are releasing the news of their decision on a day when it’s most likely to be buried by other news, i.e. the provincial election.

“If you want to bury this thing, that would be the perfect time to announce it,” said Ladner, the longtime NPA councillor who ran for mayor last fall in a municipal election that was at times overshadowed by questions involving the Olympic village.

He suspects that the new council will now decide to abandon any further attempts to investigate and simply let the whole issue go away.

“It’s not a great outcome and the ultimate losers are the public,” he said. “And I’d say anyone who didn’t take a polygraph, but gained politically is suspect in my view.”

Even though police have said that the information that got leaked to the media appears to have come from the minutes of the meeting and not the report (which laid out staff’s case, but didn’t have the results of the vote) that went missing for a couple of days immediately after the Oct. 14 meeting. Ladner and Anton both insist that finding who took the document is important.

And they don’t believe it went missing by chance.

Anton said staff went “white with shock” when they knew the document was missing within minutes of the Oct. 14 meeting ending and they sent out an alert immediately.

She doesn’t see how anyone who had picked it up accidentally wouldn’t have discovered that right away, given the level of panic.

Yet that’s what Vision councillors believe.

“My best guess is that it was picked up by accident,” Councilor Tim Stevenson said. “I know most of the people fairly well and I just don’t think we have those kind of people.”

He said he declined to take the polygraph test because he had sought advice, and he was told polygraphs are "unreliable and inadmissible in court.”

He didn’t think much of the whole request for a police investigation, which he said seemed like a “big fishing expedition” that was bound to lead nowhere.

That might give readers a clue as to what’s going to happen to the second half of the Richard Peck investigation into the missing document. Peck was hired to make suggestions for improved security and do an investigation. The first half, he reported on and apparently staff will come back in June with recommendations on how to implement his suggestions.

It’s now up to council to decide whether to proceed with the second part.

Frances Bula reports for Vancouver magazine and The Globe and Mail.

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