More to this story than being told: Toronto Police clerk charged with illegally accessing confidential files

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Toronto Police

In 1985, my squad executed a search warrant at the home of a member of organized crime and discovered that Chinatown’s Luen Kung Lok Triad gang was receiving confidential Toronto Police Intelligence Bureau surveillance reports shortly after they were filed – sometimes within hours of the report creation.

In that case, corrupt Toronto Police personnel were making thousands of dollars a month providing outsiders with illegal access to police information, resources and investigative techniques.

I was one of four officers quietly inserted into 52 Plainclothes squad with secret orders from Chief Marks to put a stop to the corruption. We worked in a station of several hundred police officers who were not aware of our undercover mission.

We spent almost a year pretending to be corrupt –  taking bribes, enjoying free meals, free booze and partying with organized crime while secretly recording everything for the big takedown.

We had to bring our own ‘girlfriends’ to the parties because otherwise it would look suspicious when we refused the gang offers of women. Our ‘girlfriends’ and ‘squad groupies’ were, of course, undercover female police officers playing the role. Although Julian Fantino (who went on to become Chief of Police and then Associate Minister of Defense) briefly covered the investigation in his biography ‘Duty’ – the project deserves it’s own book. I’ll put that on my do list.

Here is an October 26, 1988 Toronto Star report of one of the trials in that case. You’ll note that accused Wilson Wong named two Toronto Police “friends” at 52 Division (downtown) who “are no longer on the Metro force”. Yes, there is still lots to be told about Project Winky. (click photo for large)

1988-wong-trial-sml-private

Here we are thirty years later and the quest to illegally access and benefit from confidential police information continues.

Toronto Police yesterday charged a civilian employee with a total of 24 crimes involving illegal access to police databases, saying that the searches made by the accused, Erin Maranan 28 years old of Thornhill, Ontario, were not for “official police business”. (Toronto Star Toronto Police forensics clerk charged with illegally accessing files)

I only know what I’ve read in the news media, and the court has imposed a publication ban on the proceedings – but that doesn’t stop us from making some informed observations and analysis of the available information.

Much more to this case than presently being told

This case is possibly much more than a civilian employee looking up background on her lover or her husband’s mistress. Some indicators:

  • The accused worked as a clerk in the Forensic Identification Service. As such, she had access to special databases and information that are not even directly accessible to most police officers. She might even have had the ability to alter information. The duties of a forensic cleck include “processing, searching, comparing and identifying fingerprints for crime-scene identification and criminal record purposes, providing professional photographic and digital imaging services to all units, and maintaining section files.”
  • The accused is also charged with personation – pretending to be someone else to gain a benefit. I speculate that this involves logging into the system as another police employee, perhaps even as a police officer. As an alternative, she could have been accessing Identity Information and commiting fraud.
  • The accused is charged with perjury, although we don’t know under what circumstances. That is serious business – a straight indictable criminal offence with a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
  • The accused is charged with 23 counts of Breach of Trust between February and September 2014. Whatever the circumstances, this means that her actions were planned, not spontaneous, and that she knew she was committing a series of criminal offences.

It is good to see the Professional Standards Unit of the Toronto Police taking this illegal access to confidential police data by an employee most seriously.

Former OPP Detective Jim Van Allen

Former OPP Detective Jim Van Allen

This is a different response than taken by the Ontario Provincial Police when one of their senior Detective Sergeants illegally worked as a private investigator for clients that included suspects in the threatening of witnesses. In that disgusting case involving now-retired Detective Sergeant James (Jim) Van Allen, the OPP Professional Standards Unit covered up and whitewashed lawbreaking by their long-time colleague. (See Canadian police expertise, information and resources illegally sold to major law firms)

Paul Manning’s Crimestoppers exposé a disturbing read



Hamilton Crimestoppers

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Long before Crimestoppers started in the late 1970s, Toronto Police drug and organized crime squads had what were then called ‘fink funds’; cash provided to the squads to supposedly pay informants for information leading to major arrests.

As a young undercover operator in the early 1980’s I heard rumours that only a small portion of the ‘fink fund’ money was being used as intended. Who knows the truth? The old Staff Sergeants weren’t about to share those kinds of secrets with new guys like me.

Crimestoppers was supposed to stop the abuse, by providing structure and accountability for informant funds while enticing increasing numbers of citizens to anonymously solve crimes for cash rewards.

Paul Manning’s true story is a disturbing read of betrayal, police corruption, officer suicide and money. Big money from Crimestoppers.

The trick was to get the money away from the police Christmas parties and golf tournaments and into the hands of informants.

What could possibly go wrong?

Read former Hamilton Police undercover officer Paul Manning’s latest: Crimestoppers – Abused for decades.

Well worth your time.

Ontario Appeal Court decision clears the way for lawyers Lorne Silver and Gerald Ranking to sue Donald Best for Internet libel.

Toronto lawyers Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver lied to the court, fabricated evidence.

Toronto lawyers Gerald Ranking (Faskens) and Lorne Silver (Cassels Brock) lied to the court, fabricated evidence.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

There remains just one small problem… everything Donald Best published is true.

A recent cutting-edge decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal clears the way for residents of Ontario to sue for Internet libel no matter where in the world the offending material is published.

The Appeal Court upheld a lower court ruling that persons are entitled to sue in the jurisdiction where they enjoy their reputation. (The Lawyers Weekly: Israeli paper libel case to be tried in an Ontario court.)

If there was any doubt on the part of Toronto lawyers Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver about their ability to sue me in Ontario, the decision in Goldhar v. Haaretz.com 2016 ONCA 515 should clear the way if they wish to launch a civil action concerning my articles about them as published here at DonaldBest.CA.

I, Donald Best, hereby declare that I write and publish this website in Ontario, Canada, where I am resident.

Some of my articles document how Messrs. Ranking and Silver, as Officers of the Court, fabricated a false ’Statement for the Record’ and lied to the court in writing and orally to convict me in absentia of ‘Contempt of Court’ in a civil case costs hearing I was unaware of while I was overseas.

In several articles, I directly call both Mr. Ranking and Mr. Silver ‘liars’, which they are. They are proven to be liars by my secret telephone recordings and other evidence. By example, they even taught a junior lawyer how to lie to the court.

Please don’t believe anything I say. Examine all the affidavits, exhibits, recordings and court transcripts posted on this website and make up your own mind.

I also published several articles describing how Gerald Ranking committed fraud upon the courts when he knowingly conspired with his clients to use a phoney non-entity to bring motions and appear before the courts, including before the Supreme Court of Canada.  Read more

Poll: Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen should resign or be stripped of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces

Jim Van Allen Police-private

A one day reader poll at DonaldBest.CA asked: Should Jim Van Allen resign from the Order of Merit of the Police Forces?

The result was a tsunami of votes that James (Jim) Arthur Van Allen (twitter @JimVanAllen1 ) should either resign from the Order voluntarily or that the Governor General should terminate his award.

Of the 258 participants, 96 voted to allow Van Allen to resign, while 161 voted that the Governor General should not wait for his resignation. Only 1 person voted that Van Allan should be allowed to remain a Member of the Order.

The now retired Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant was invested into the Order by Governor General Michaëlle Jean on May 26, 2010.

What the then Governor General of Canada did not know was that during the nomination and selection period over the Fall and Winter of 2009-2010, Van Allen was illegally working ‘on the side’ as an unlicensed private investigator for the Toronto law office of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

Fasken Martineau lawyer Gerald Ranking (left) illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation to benefit Ranking’s clients. Section 120 (1)(a)(i) & (ii) of the Criminal Code calls that ‘Bribery of a Peace Officer’

Fasken Martineau lawyer Gerald Ranking (left) illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation to benefit Ranking’s clients. Section 120 (1)(a)(i) & (ii) of the Criminal Code calls that ‘Bribery of a Peace Officer’

Van Allen broke several provincial and federal laws including the Police Services Act, the Ontario Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005, S.0. 2005, c. 34, and the Criminal Code, Section 120 (Bribery of Officers) and/or Section 122 (Breach of Trust).    Read more

Vote in our Poll: Should Jim Van Allen resign from the Order of Merit of the Police Forces?

Fasken Martineau lawyer Gerald Ranking (left) illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation to benefit Ranking’s clients. Section 120 (1)(a)(i) & (ii) of the Criminal Code calls that ‘Bribery of a Peace Officer’

Fasken Martineau lawyer Gerald Ranking (left) illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation to benefit Ranking’s clients. The Criminal Code calls that ‘Bribery of a Peace Officer’

What Canada’s Governor General wasn’t told.

NOTICE: Poll closed after 24 hours. Analysis tomorrow!

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

On May 26, 2010, Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant James ‘Jim’ Arthur Van Allen stood proudly as Governor General Michaëlle Jean invested him as a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

What neither the Governor General nor her nominating committee knew though, was that during the selection period Detective Sergeant Van Allen actively violated Provincial and Federal laws. He illegally took money ‘on the side’ to work as an unlicensed private investigator for one of Canada’s largest law firms.

We now know that in 2009 and 2010 Van Allen was a Detective Sergeant in charge of the elite Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Criminal Profiling Unit when lawyer Gerald Ranking of Fasken, Martineau DuMoulin LLP illegally paid him $2,699.93 to illegally investigate me and provide the results for use in a civil dispute.

Evidence of Van Allen’s corrupt actions is public

The evidence is filed in Ontario courts. You can download the court documents via the links at the end of this article and make up your own mind. You can examine Van Allen’s invoices and read his deceptive sworn affidavit where Van Allen and the lawyers deliberately conceal his law breaking from the courts.

You can even listen to a secretly made telephone recording of Van Allen that, with the other evidence, proves Van Allen and his fellow senior OPP officers lied and concealed his law breaking.

Should Jim Van Allen do the honourable thing? (A 24 hour poll)


Only one police officer in history has been stripped of the Order of Merit. In 2010 the Governor General ousted RCMP Sergeant Warren S. Gherasim after the officer crashed his private auto while drinking and driving.

The rules of The Order state that members can resign voluntarily in writing. Termination is automatic when a person has been convicted of a criminal offense or has been subject to official / formal / serious sanction by the police service.

The Governor General can also terminate a person’s membership as His Excellency sees fit.

To my knowledge, Governor General David Johnston does not yet know about Jim Van Allen’s law breaking during the time when the officer was invested in the Order.

Now that everything is known, should Jim Van Allen resign from the Order of Merit of the Police Forces?

Evidence and Background Articles  Read more

Anonymous Companies: Global Witness undercover investigation shows 25% of lawyers will money launder

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

An undercover investigation by Global Witness found that twenty-five percent of the New York lawyers they approached were willing to become involved in moving suspect monies into the United States. Several of the lawyers even suggested that their trust accounts could be used for the purpose.

The Global Witness investigation highlights the role of anonymously-owned companies in avoiding detection of money laundering. Most of the unethical lawyers in the hidden videos suggested using anonymously-owned companies and even layers of companies to money-launder.

What is most shocking about the 25% rate of corruption is that these were all cold calls by an undercover investigator.

A stranger walked in the door and 25% of the lawyers laid out strategies to enable money-laundering or otherwise agreed to participate to varying degrees. It is reasonable to assume that some of the lawyers who refused to participate did so because they were suspicious of the undercover investigator. Some would probably have agreed to money launder had they been approached by an existing client, therefore the Global Witness figure of 25% is probably low. Perhaps very low.

Gerald L Ranking Fasken noncopyright Photo-SAN

Fasken Martineau Toronto lawyer Gerald L Ranking knowingly used a phoney, non-existent ‘corporate client’ to commit fraud upon Canadian courts. Where did the million dollars go?  Why didn’t Ranking submit costs to the Supreme Court of Canada?

In context, the Global Witness investigation is nothing less than an indictment of the legal profession – including of former lawyers who are now called ‘judges’. If I belonged to a profession where 25% of my colleagues were shown to be corrupt, I’d be embarrassed, upset and determined to clean up the profession – and I don’t mean just polishing the profession’s image by making excuses.

Dirty money is dirty money, whether taken by corrupt Lawyers or corrupt Police

Donald Best from an organized crime squad photo, mid-1980's

Toronto Police Sergeant Donald Best. From an organized crime squad photo, mid-1980’s

In 1985 when I was a Toronto Police officer working undercover in 52 Division, my squad mates and I received stacks of cash as bribes from organized crime. Yes, we took the cash and much more… but please read on!

Gang members offered us hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus fabulous vacations (and stunningly gorgeous women), for doing nothing more than looking the other way and not raiding certain gambling and prostitution establishments in the heart of downtown Toronto. An extra hundred thousand dollars a year per man (tax free cash) was quite a sum in 1985.

Were we tempted? Not even for an instant.

We were police officers; steadfast, independent agents of Her Majesty and Canada, and proud of it. So we organized a sting that went on far longer and far deeper than any of us ever imagined was possible.

We took the bribes under controlled conditions and found ourselves diving deep into the corrupt relationships between organized crime, lawyers, former lawyers, politicians, public officials and law enforcement. (And no… we didn’t take the offered women. We brought in female undercover officers to pose as our squad ‘groupies’. That story deserves its own book.) Read more

Words from the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association… but do they really believe?

Canadian Superior Court Judges SAN

“No one in Canada is above the law. Everyone, no matter how wealthy or how powerful they are, must obey the law or face the consequences.”

Canadian Superior Court Judges Association ‘The Rule of Law

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Time for some honesty and reality

There are times when, despite being over 60 years old and a former police detective, I feel like a naive boy scout to have had the solid faith I once had in our Canadian justice system.

My faith was not blind, but I believed that despite the weaknesses in our system, Canadians could be assured that there were no protected classes, and that no one was truly above the law. I no longer believe that.

In my life as a police officer, I twice said the words “I am arresting you for murder” – a phrase that not many of my fellow Canadians have spoken. Not many police officers have said those words once, let alone twice.

I have arrested police officers, priests, teachers, politicians, judges, nurses, bus drivers and school-aged children for everything from unpaid parking tickets to extortion and murder.

The Privileged Classes

And, rarely over the years, I’ve seen some from the privileged classes walk free from solid criminal charges when there was no logical reason in law for that to have happened. Read more

Smuggled rum bought a farm and truck

Grandfather Best Bootlegger SAN

A Family Confession

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

As we discuss what is ethical behaviour and all the shades of right and wrong, I have a family confession: both my father and his father were bootleggers during the Depression and throughout World War II. Even as a decorated Chief Petty Officer during the Battle of the Atlantic, my father made considerable profits from smuggled rum and canned hams.

It could be fairly argued that smuggled rum and canned hams provided the financial foundation for several successful Best family businesses in Prince Edward Island and Ontario in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Indeed, it could also be said that the profits from bootleg liquor kept many a PEI family from starving during the dirty thirties. This, of course, was unbeknownst to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union wives (including my grandmother), who provided meals for the poor at the Freeland Presbyterian Church.

Profits from rum running also repaired the Freeland Presbyterian Church after the 1935 fire. Grandmother and the other womenfolk weren’t aware of the source of the re-construction funds even until they day they died. To this day my dear Aunts have no knowledge of this truth unless they read this post. Some family history is, to now, a male tradition.

The point of all this is that right and wrong, rule of law, ethics and law-breaking are not always a black/white either/or situation. Simple either/or solutions are not always possible in the real world.

That said; is is okay for lawyers to lie to the courts? Is it okay for police officers to illegally accept money from lawyers to work illegally for one side of a civil dispute?

Yes, there are shades of grey… but some behaviours can never be excused or explained away.

Bestselling author Kenneth Eade tweets the Donald Best story of lawyer and police misconduct

Author Kenneth Eade Killer Lawyer-private

A pleasant surprise this morning to wake and find that bestselling legal thriller author Kenneth Eade tweeted about my case.  @KennethEade1 

His latest book Absolute Intolerance holds the lead on Amazon’s top seller list for thrillers.

Tonight I’ll dig into Eade’s Killer.Com that comes highly recommended by an old friend.

Thanks for the mention, Mr. Eade.

Donald Best

When lawyers and police break the law together, what justice can exist for ordinary citizens?

Faskens lawyer Gerald Ranking illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation. Section he Criminal Code calls it

Fasken Martineau lawyer Gerald Ranking (left) illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation to benefit Ranking’s clients. Section 120 (1)(a)(i) & (ii) of the Criminal Code calls that ‘Bribery of a Peace Officer’

Alabama: Yet another case of corrupt police and corrupt lawyers working together. 

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Leaked documents reveal that for over ten years a group of corrupt Dothan, Alabama police officers (including the current Chief of Police) planted drugs and weapons on hundreds of innocent young black men.

Instead of stopping the practice and freeing the innocent prisoners, the local District Attorney covered up and colluded with the corrupt police.

Collusion between corrupt police and corrupt lawyers is a worrisome issue in the justice system simply because we are beginning to see increasing reports of this type. The news from Dothan, Alabama is only the latest story.

As I reported last March, Louisiana plaintiff Douglas Dendinger was arrested and charged with battery, obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness after five police officers and two prosecuting attorneys jointly provided false evidence that they saw Dendinger physically assault and intimidate a police officer as he served the officer with legal documents. Luckily for Mr. Dendinger that (as in my case) he had a hidden recording proving that the police and attorneys perjured themselves and lied to the court.

In my own case, lawyers and police committed various wrongdoing; including fabricating false and deceptive evidence, lying to the court, committing a fraud upon the court by representing a phoney non-existent business entity, anonymously threatening witnesses and illegally hiring a corrupt Ontario Provincial Police officer ‘on the side’ to perform illegal acts and other misconduct.

Canadians rely upon the legal profession to monitor the police, make rogue officers accountable and to act as a deterent. When corrupt lawyers work hand in hand with corrupt police officers, and the Law Society of Upper Canada covers up and whitewashes, how can ordinary citizens hope for justice?

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