The news on June 5 that Kitchener-South Hespeler MP Marwan Tabbara had been arrested by the Guelph Police Service on April 10, and that no one in the general public knew about it for almost four months, has prompted a lot of questions. After being under pressure the last week, Guelph Police have now released a statement on why no one said that a sitting Member of Parliament had spent part of the Easter long weekend in their custody.
On Thursday evening, Guelph Police Service released a media statement in reaction to the “numerous media inquiries” they’ve received regarding the arrest of Tabbara on April 10. “Daily Media Releases do not capture a comprehensive summary of all calls attended to by our members. In this case, the arrest of Mr. Tabbara was not brought to the attention of the media office,” the statement read.
The statement also explained that when it comes to the release of information to the public, the Guelph Police adhere to section 41 of the Police Services Act, as well as regulation 265/98.
Section 41 of the Act outlines the powers and duties of the chief of police, which includes the power to disclose personal information. A list of eight reasons to disclose personal information such as the name of a person attested includes the protection of the public, protection of the victim or victim of crime, or keeping the public informed about an ongoing judicial or correctional matter.
The disclosure of personal information is further refined in regulation 265/98, which says that a chief of police or their designate can disclose personal information if an individual has been convicted or found guilty under the criminal code, if there’s a reasonable assumption that the individual poses a risk to people or property, or if there’s a belief that disclosing information will reduce that risk. The only personal identification that can be released is a person’s name, birth date, address, and the date of any pending legal action.
If those are the considerations, then it’s curious why the news about Tabbara was not reported. The Kitchener-South Hespeler MP was charged with two counts of assault, one count of break and enter, and commit an indictable offence, and one count of criminal harassment, and was arraigned in a London court on Good Friday. News of Tabbara’s arrest was not published in the Guelph Police’s first daily media release after the long weekend, which was April 14.
If you’re looking for more insight into why this remained unreported until a National Post article last week, don’t look to the Guelph Police for further answers. “The Guelph Police Service will issue no further statements with respect to this matter,” the statement reads.
Tabbara will appear in a Guelph court on Friday June 19.