Invasion of Privacy By Danny Vick

Published July 1, 2018

The following is a true and rather unbelievable story that happened to me. It all started July 8, 2017 as I left my home in Almonte, Ontario just after midnight for my annual vacation in the United States, the same trip that I have made for the past twelve years. I returned on July 15 at dinnertime. When I got up to my door, I noticed a note, left on the steps which was from the Lanark County O.P.P. dated July 13, 2017. It stated that a neighbour had become concerned for my ‘well-being’ and called the O.P.P. who then proceeded to break in and search my home only to discover that I was not there. As bad as that was, it only got worse.

I contacted the neighbour who admitted that he had called the police. This neighbour is not a relative or even a close friend plus neither he nor any other neighbours inform me of their travel plans. None of my neighbours have my telephone number or key to the house, we are just neighbours, friendly from a distance.

I found out that the O.P.P., a constable, a sergeant, two police cars, two volunteer fire fighters and their vehicle were on site over four hours. At that point, a basement window was broken and steel security bars were torn off and entry was gained into the house and then the garage. A piece of plywood I had in the garage was taken, cut and placed in the window opening leaving sawdust and the twisted bars on the basement floor. Although the neighbour apparently remembered that I may have gone on holidays, the O.P.P. placed me on the ‘Canadian Person of Interest’ list, as missing.

The O.P.P. did try to call me on my cell phone and left a message but I had turned it off while in the states. Curious as to how they got my cell phone, I found out that they had called a relative that I had not spoken to in twelve years. Most of my neighbours know where I work and the O.P.P. claimed to have called my employer and were told that I did not work there. I have worked at this job for 29 years. (This was in the police report but was puzzling as I checked with my employer and they said that they do tell the police if someone is employed with them).

On August 3, 2017 I submitted a complaint to the office of the Internal Police Review Director (OIPRD). After numerous calls and letters and a one-on-one meeting with a representative, it turned out to be a waste of time. Although I was told that my case was being reviewed and a decision would be made, I was later told that my case was being dropped. The Internal Police Review department tried to initiate an informal meeting but that did not occur as it contained a ‘gag’ order on any evidence presented.

I did not give up. In August I submitted for a fee, a request under Freedom of Information for the Police Report. When it arrived a month later, it had numerous redactions which I could not understand. After all, this was an unrelated neighbour wondering where I was and my only crime seems to have been going on vacation.

I submitted for a fee, an appeal to get an unredacted copy of the police report. This appeal was sent soon afterwards to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. They told me by phone that their office contacts anyone who gave a statement to the police and requests permission to release said statement. If the answer is no, I must petition a court in an attempt to retrieve this information regarding my personal property. The answer was ‘no’ from those who gave statements. I was concerned about an inaccurate statement given by one individual but the Freedom of Information Act does not appear to protect the innocent.

Despite the fact that there was no evidence of anything wrong, no fire, no theft, no criminal record, the grass was trimmed, the windows and doors were locked and the blind drawn, things you might do if going on holidays, they still broke into my house. I was told that they would compensate me for the damages and I was to submit and bill and they would pay for it. I did this and received a cheque to cover the damages.

In conclusion, I have had several conversations with an attorney at law and it seems that there may have been a violation of section 7 and 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and possibly unlawful trespass. There wasn’t a 911 call just a neighbour saying he hadn’t seen me for a few days. Is that all it takes to unleash the power of the police to break into your home? Could they not have waited to see if I would return? I did not understand the urgency nor the necessity of breaking into my house. What was the cost to taxpayers from all the manpower and vehicles that were watching my house for four hours? It will remain a mystery as to why they were so interested in my whereabouts.

For some time now I have been concerned with an overstepping of government authority and our increasing loss of freedoms and our rights. It is part of the reason that I do have bars on my windows and a Back off Government sign on my car.

Landowner Voices

SUBSCRIBE TO THE OLA NEWSLETTER