When news broke in June that Liberal MP Marwin Tabbara was arrested and charged with two counts of assault, one count of break and enter and one count of criminal harassment, the Guelph Police Service said their media relations person was unaware Tabbara was a Member of Parliament.
“The arrest of Mr. Tabbara was not brought to the attention of the media office.”
That was on June 11th.
Turns out this is not the truth. Or at least not the whole truth.
A series of emails obtained by CBC through a Freedom of Information request tell a very different story than the one originally put forward by the Guelph Police Service.
An email dated April 10 from Const. Meg Hern to then-media officer Const. Kyle Grant said:
“Just want you to have the heads-up the accused in [the case] is a federal MP so when and if it hits the news there could be a bit of a media frenzy.”
The situation was compounded by the fact Tabbara was arrested on Easter Weekend, and like many other arrests that weekend, his arrest simply wasn’t reported when media relations staff returned from the long weekend.
Instead they chose to report only those arrests made the day prior to their return to work.
Did the Guelph Police Service cover up Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara’s arrest?
No, I don’t think so, but the fact they withheld information from the public about the arrest of a public official is more than a little disconcerting.
When a sitting Member of Parliament is arrested for assault, among many other serious charges, not only does the public have the right to know, the police have a duty to inform us.
That the Guelph Police Service chose to ignore that duty is… concerning… to say the least.