A Chilliwack RCMP officer is suing the police force for malicious prosecution after she was cleared of wrongdoing in a conduct hearing.
Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth faced five allegations after a domestic violence incident involving another RCMP officer and his estranged spouse, a woman who was Hollingsworth’s friend.
Leading up to an alleged incident on July 20, 2016, Hollingsworth was accused of abusing her position and conspiring with members of the public and her husband, Inspector Sukhjit (Suki) Manj, to find out intimate details of the private life of the male officer accused of the domestic assault.
“It was also alleged that Cpl. Hollingsworth failed to address the alleged victim’s genuine fear that her estranged husband, a member, would attend her residence following the incident,” according to the RCMP conduct hearing decision written by retired Mountie Kevin L. Harrison.
Following the hearing, which was held in September 2018, Harrison found none of the five allegations made against Hollingsworth were established.
Both Hollingsworth and Manj were stationed in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan from 2014 to July 2016, including at the time of the incident. It was after that when they were transferred back to B.C., where they are from, because of Manj’s handling of the relationship between a police services dog handler, and a civilian RCMP employee.
The woman denied the relationship, but the RCMP has since admitted it did happen.
Manj deemed the relationship to be inappropriate as he felt it violated RCMP workplace policy, but his bosses told him to drop it. After the matter was investigated, both Manj and Hollingsworth were suspended by the RCMP in September 2017 and conduct hearings were initiated.
The Progress reached out to Manj with an interview request earlier this week, but neither he nor Hollingsworth responded by Oct. 17 at noon.
In an interview with the CBC, Hollingsworth said she lived by the core values of the RCMP, so to be accused of lying was “mortifying.”
The incident and the weeks leading up to it involved the breakdown of friendships among various couples, including the dog handler and his former spouse, Hollingsworth’s close friend.
Hollingsworth was accused of trying to find out intimate details of the dog handler’s “friendship” with a female municipal employee who also worked at the Lloydminster detachment where Manj was the officer in charge.
In his decision, Harrison found Hollingsworth’s superior made a series of “quantum leaps” about the intentions of Hollingsworth’s behaviour. Harrison described how the rumoured relationship between the dog handler and the employee would have like emerged anyway because Lloydminster is not a large community, and matters of infidelity tend to get talked about in small towns.
“RCMP members are high-profile members of small communities,” Harrison wrote. “Therefore, they are often in the public gaze. So, any hint of infidelity involving an RCMP member in the community would be a rather juicy topic for rumours and gossip. Additionally, RCMP members themselves are notorious gossips.”
Assessing the credibility of those who testified at the hearing, both Hollingsworth and Manj were deemed to be credible, while the credibility of some others was questioned.
On a more serious accusation against Hollingsworth, that she failed to be diligent in protecting the alleged victim from the alleged domestic assault, Harrison found that she had no reason to think violence would occur given that the dog handler is a police officer, trained to defuse, not escalate, a volatile situation.
Hollingsworth filed her lawsuit on Oct. 11. The force has not yet responded.
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