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November 3, 2009
For immediate release

Retired Chief Justice Mitchell Appointed Police Commissioner

Office of the Attorney General

The province announced today that retired Chief Justice Gerard E. Mitchell has been appointed to the newly created position of Police Commissioner and Roy J. Ridlington has been appointed Deputy Police Commissioner.

“Making these two appointments is an important step towards the proclamation of the province’s new Police Act,” said Attorney General Gerard Greenan.

The Office of the Police Commissioner will ensure civilian oversight of police agencies on the Island, including the Atlantic Police Academy and UPEI Security Services. The Office will be independent, and will provide an appeal process for a complainant, or a police officer whose conduct is the subject of a complaint, if either is dissatisfied with a decision made by a police chief. It will also investigate complaints against police chiefs and security police officers at UPEI. However, the Office will not have jurisdiction over the RCMP, which has its own complaints procedure. The Police Commissioner will oversee the Office of the Police Commissioner and will conduct hearings. The Deputy Police Commissioner will act when the Commissioner is unable or unavailable to act.

“We are very pleased to have two such well-qualified candidates willing to take on these important new roles,” said Ellie Reddin, Chair of the Screening Committee which reviewed the applications for both positions. The Screening Committee consisted of representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, the PEI Police Association, the PEI Association of Chiefs of Police and the municipalities who oversee their own police services.

“Justice Mitchell comes to the Police Commissioner’s office with a wealth of experience. During his many years on the bench, he has shown a special dedication to ensuring that the principles entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were always reflected in his courtroom,” said Ms. Reddin.

“With his background of military service and working with review boards, Roy Ridlington will bring an invaluable perspective to the Deputy Police Commissioner’s position,” said Ms. Reddin. Mr. Ridlington, a recently-retired lawyer who currently lives in Summerside, has had a lengthy career with the Canadian Forces and with Veteran Affairs Canada, during which he represented many members of the RCMP in the pursuit of disability claims and other matters, and he dealt with the adjudication and review of cases.

Both appointments will be effective November 7, 2009.

BACKGROUNDER

Gerard E. Mitchell:

Gerard Mitchell received his law degree from the University of New Brunswick in 1970 and was admitted to the Prince Edward Island Bar the same year. He was a Provincial Court judge from 1975 to 1977. In 1981, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island and was appointed to the Appeal Division in 1987. He became Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island in 2001, and resigned as Chief Justice effective January 15, 2008. Gerard Mitchell lives in Charlottetown, PE.

Roy James Ridlington:

Roy Ridlington served for more than two decades with the Canadian Army and the Canadian Forces in the role of Military Recruiter, Transport Officer and Military Lawyer. He received his law degree from the University of New Brunswick in 1977, and is a member of both the Law Society of Prince Edward Island and the Law Society of New Brunswick. From 1977 to 1983, he served as Deputy Judge Advocate at CFB Gagetown and then at CFB Halifax. In 1983, he was appointed Assistant Area Advocate with the Bureau of Pensions Advocates at Veterans Affairs Canada. In 1985, he was promoted to Area Advocate, a position he held until 1999. From 1999 until his retirement in 2009, he was a Legal Advisor for both the Department of Veterans Affairs’ benefits adjudicators and, most recently, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, a major federal government employees’ union. Roy Ridlington lives in Summerside, PE.

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Media Contact: Joanne MacKinnon
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