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Fast times for the diplomatic corps: Bad behaviour includes stunt, impaired driving

Ottawa Citizen logo Ottawa Citizen 2018-11-19 Tom Spears
a person driving a car: Documents received from Global Affairs Canada show one embassy employee and one high commission employee were caught driving more than 50 km/h over the limit in the period from June to September. © Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen Documents received from Global Affairs Canada show one embassy employee and one high commission employee were caught driving more than 50 km/h over the limit in the period from June to September.

It was summer, a time for getting out on the road, wind in the hair — and for a couple of diplomats, maybe a little too much wind in their hair.

Stunt driving? In an embassy car?

You bet.

Twice this summer, in a blur of red licence plates.

Documents received from Global Affairs Canada under an access to information request show one embassy employee and one high commission employee were caught driving more than 50 km/h over the limit in the period from June to September.

This is part of a document listing all foreign diplomats, their employees and family members  who run into trouble with the law in Canada. Their names, and even their countries, are deleted from the publicly available version.

But the list of undiplomatic behaviour is extensive. Let’s start with the stunt drivers.

• The embassy driver was in an embassy car, which can’t be seized by police. Normally stunt drivers lose their cars for at least seven days; Ottawa traffic officers call it “car jail.”

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In this case, Global Affairs said the car “was turned over to a diplomatic agent.”

• Meanwhile the case involving a speeder from a high commission will go to court; the high commission agreed to waive the driver’s normal immunity.

• Another driver with diplomatic immunity was charged over the summer with refusing to provide a breath sample to police.

Global Affairs says the driver will have a 90-day driving suspension enforced by his or her embassy while the Crown reviews the possibility of laying a criminal charge.

• In another case this summer, a high commissioner has provided Global Affairs with a written promise that an employee will continue a voluntary suspension from driving, following charges of impaired driving and refusing a breath sample. Many of the details on this case are deleted.

But diplomats don’t only have traffic trouble.

One diplomat was the subject of a police inquiry involving a possible sexual offence (details are not given) which ended without charges being laid.

But there is an assault case working its way through the justice system. A diplomatic employee “is presently following a court-approved early intervention program after being charged with assault earlier this year. Should (name deleted) successfully complete the program, the matter will be concluded with his agreement to a peace bond.”

Then there is a set of crimes committed against diplomatic personnel, which are also reported to Global Affairs. They are lumped in a single paragraph that suggests the department’s Protocol office had a busy summer.

They include: a victim of assault causing bodily harm, a victim of theft, theft of articles from official premises, theft from an official residence, vandalism, trespassing at an official residence, a false claim of immunity by a non-diplomatic official and quite a few attempts at fraud.

In one case “an investigation into threats against the Ambassador (deleted) remains ongoing” although an initial police investigation ended with no charges being laid.

Seven missions reported attempts at identity theft during this period, either by telephone or social media scammers.

And two people with diplomatic accreditation have sought refugee status in Canada during this period. One was a family member of a diplomat; the other was an employee.

tspears@postmedia.com

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