RCMP won't proceed with new conduct charges after officer cleared of old ones

Inspector Suki Manj says he is happy the RCMP has decided not to proceed with a new code of conduct hearing against him after he was was cleared earlier this month of several charges of abuse of authority related to his time as head of the detachment in Lloydminster, Alta., in 2016.

The RCMP initially proceeded on four of 14 allegations against Manj and had threatened to reinstate some of the others after he was cleared.

Tuesday, he was told the force would not be proceeding with them, ending what he calls the "nightmare" his family has faced for four years.

"I'm happy that I don't have to go through another hearing to prove that I didn't do anything wrong and I'm happy that somebody has taken the time to read the material and think that through," he told the CBC in a telephone interview.

Manj had been accused of mishandling a romantic relationship between a civilian office manager and an RCMP doghandler under his command.

In a strongly worded oral decision at the end of Manj's five-day tribunal hearing in early October, Gerry Annetts, who presided over it, said the evidence from Manj's bosses, Chief Supt. Shahin Mehdizadeh and Chief Supt. Wendell Reimer ,was "unreliable."

Annetts also ruled that evidence from the RCMP's witness, Staff Sgt. Sarah Knelsen, were "some of the most biased, leading, unreliable statements I have ever seen," according to notes provided by Manj's lawyer from the oral decision.

A written decision had not yet been issued.

Manj family photo
Manj family photo

Annetts also apparently wished Manj a better experience with the RCMP than he has experienced over the past few years.

Manj says he hopes some good will come out of the ordeal his family has gone through after he and his wife, Cpl Tammy Hollingsworth, were transferred back to B.C., were both handed several allegations of misconduct and suspended with pay in 2017.

"I feel that I have a purpose now and that purpose is to make sure the organization improves its processes around conduct. And I think I want to be a part of that. I never wanted to be off. I am happy that I'll have an opportunity to prove myself again," he said.

Hollingsworth was also completely cleared in her misconduct hearing earlier this year.

She has returned to work and filed a civil claim against the RCMP over her treatment.

Manj is still off but says he hopes to return to the successful career he loved and had aspired to since he was a boy.