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Spyware Spying Case Filed by Saanich Mayor Finally Closed

Saanichnews.com reported on 23rd June, 2015 stating that British Columbia Police Complaint Commissioner is closing the books on the complaints of Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell about an investigation on spyware and allegations of leaking information against his own municipality's police department.

Vancouversun.com published a report on 23rd June, 2015 quoting Stan Lowe, Police Complaint Commissioner, as saying "retired B.C. Justice Wally Oppal was called to resolve the dispute between Atwell and Saanich police but after back-and-forth meetings for four months, his efforts failed."

Lowe closed the investigation after getting more information from Atwell and examining material from other sources.

Atwell lodged a complaint in January 2015 asking the Police Complaint Commissioner to probe whether Saanich police were involved in a clash of interest by reassessing the authenticity of the Spector 360 spying software which was installed on the computer of the mayor. Atwell said that the police unit was involved because wife of Saanich Police Chief, Jennifer, is an executive assistant in the mayor's office and the spyware was also fitted on her system.

B.C. Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham finally established that district officials violated privacy regulations by installing illegal software for monitoring computer to collect personal details of employees, citizens and the mayor.

Lowe said in a statement: "while arriving to a conclusion, it is important that public should understand that the complaint made by Mayor Atwell was not treated differently than any other complaint received from a member of the public. The commissioner regrets for long delay to arrive to a conclusion in this case as Mayor Atwell made the complaint on 12th January, 2015 through his legal counsel. It is important that the public should be notified that a major portion of this delay can be accounted for by a long attempt to solve this matter between the parties through voluntary Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)."

Cknw.com published news on 24th June, 2015 quoting Andy Laidlaw, Saanich Interim Chief Operating Officer, as saying: "Council has accepted the report and we are moving ahead. I have not got a chance to talk to mayor because he is attending a conference in Vancouver but we will definitely talk to him on his return."

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