The Court held that the Applicant, Mr. Kozina, had standing to seek judicial review of a decision made by the Respondent, Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board. The Board had decided to dismiss Mr. Kozina’s complaint alleging that excessive force was used by two police officers.

Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Law Enforcement Review Board – Judicial review – Application – Legislative compliance – Police – Professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming

Kozina v. Edmonton (City) Police Services, [2019] A.J. No 611, 2019 ABQB 355, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, May 13, 2019, B.R. Burrows J.

The Applicant, Kazimierz Kozina, was arrested by police officers, Kemp and Redlick, during an arrest on February 11, 2010. Mr. Kozina made a complaint that the officers had used excessive force during the arrest; he suffered a broken orbital bone, a broken nose, and injuries to his back. Mr. Kozina’s complaint was dismissed by Chief Knecht of the Edmonton Police Services (one of the Respondents) on November 23, 2010. Mr. Kozina appealed to the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board (another Respondent), which allowed the appeal in September 2014 and ordered the Chief to investigate the complaint again.

After the re-investigation, the Chief held that the actions, “constituted a contravention of the regulations governing the discipline or the performance of duty of police officers”. The Chief directed a retired judge to conduct a hearing into the matter. The hearing was held and then, in July 2016, the complaint was dismissed. Mr. Kozina appealed the decision to the Board. In January 2018, the Board dismissed Mr. Kozina’s appeal.

Mr. Kozina commenced this application for judicial review of the Board’s decision. The parties agreed the Court should first decide whether Mr. Kozina had standing to commence an application for judicial review of the Board’s decision.

The Court first reviewed the law relating to standing for challenging decisions of an administrative body, including the decision of Alberta Liquor Store Association v. Alberta (Gaming and Liquor Commission), 2006 ABQB 904.

The Court reviewed the Police Act to consider the provisions relevant to the issue of standing, and summarized all of those provisions. The Court held that, in spite of some contrary indications, the provisions indicated the legislature intended that a person complaining about a police officer has a substantial and personal interest in the issue to be decided in the process established by the Police Act, and the decisions made in it. The Court held that a person in Mr. Kozina’s position is an aggrieved person.

The Court distinguished this situation from the decision made in Newton v. Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association where Slatter J. held an individual’s role was limited to being a witness. The Court noted that provisions were added to the Police Act a few months after the decision was released in Newton v. Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association.

The Court held that Mr. Kozina has standing to seek judicial review of the impugned decision of the Board.

This case was first published in the LexisNexis®.