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)

Allard Prize winners know that fighting corruption is a dangerous business

You can do something important in the fight against corruption.

At zero risk to yourself and to your family… YOU can nominate a candidate for the Allard Prize for International Integrity

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

After almost 40 years spent interacting with ordinary people, the police, the legal profession and the courts in one way or another, I truly believe that most people are good at their core.

Really evil people are a minority in our society, and, I firmly believe, are a minority in any society.

Most people have integrity. They know in their heart – they feel in their heart – what is right and wrong and they try to do the correct thing; but… only when integrity is an easy choice.

To do what is right when the pressure is on, when your employer or a powerful group wants you to compromise or ignore what you know is right… that takes more than integrity. It takes courage.

Courage: that is where most good people fail the test.

Most of us do not have that kind of courage. That is a hard truth and one of the reasons why groups of corrupt people can sway societal systems and exert influence totally out of proportion to their numbers and actual strength.

Yet, sometimes all it takes is one courageous person to stand firm and declare that they will not do this or that for their employer. They will not deliver false evidence or ignore the truth in the face of powerful government officials.

But such decisions carry a price.

Sometimes the price of integrity is relatively modest: Professor John Knox of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill in Barbados was warned to stop testifying in a certain court case or he would be fired. Professor Knox testified and soon found himself unemployed – fired from the University. Then he was abducted from the family home at gunpoint and beaten severely… but at least he still lives.

Sometimes the price of integrity is high: Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky refused to ‘confess’ to crimes and to falsely implicate others. For his defiance, corrupt police imprisoned him and then beat him to death in his solitary confinement jail cell. As corrupt as the murderous police were, they were only the instruments of a larger corrupt cabal that extended high into the Russian government.

And lest my readers receive the impression that serious corruption only happens ‘over there’, I clearly state that in Canada and in the United States, just like everywhere else, integrity is sometimes rewarded – but most often is punished when ruling groups are exposed or threatened.

Integrity is easy. Courage is the hard part.

Please watch my latest video, and then do your part to fight corruption. You can nominate a candidate for the Allard Prize for International Integrity – one of the world’s most prestigious and richest prizes for anti-corruption and integrity.

Here is the online prize criteria and nomination form.

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

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?

Lawyer and police misconduct in Donald Best case “reads like a John Grisham novel”

John Grisham-Rogue Lawyer private

Perjury. Violence. Abduction. Threats to rape and murder witnesses. Anonymous internet threats from a Bay Street law firm. A Canadian judge’s secret backroom order.

Best vs. Ranking is just another civil lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court…

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

A judge once remarked on the record that my case reads like the plot from a John Grisham novel.

I can’t disagree. I wonder what Mr. Grisham himself might think. (Grisham photo above courtesy of the Toronto Star)

Like most Grisham novels the stakes in my case are high enough at US$120 million dollars to cause some lawyers, accountants, police officers and other professionals to step over the line.

Way over the line.

“My case is complex, but my April 23, 2015 sworn affidavit provides a basic summary and is, frankly, a pretty good page-turner at bedtime.”

Download Donald Best’s April 23, 2015 affidavit. (PDF 882kb without exhibits)

My case has seen some people on the other side (including certain lawyers and police officers) proveably commit various crimes including: fabricating evidence, lying to the court [1], fraudulently using a phoney non-existent ‘company’ as a lawyer’s client to petition the courts and transfer a million dollars [2], illegally hiring a corrupt OPP police sergeant ‘on the side’ to work against me in a civil lawsuit [3] and putting an innocent man in jail using proveably false, fabricated evidence. [4]

Welcome to civil litigation involving the Caribbean island nation of Barbados.

Also like a John Grisham novel, my witnesses, lawyers, myself and our family members have been the targets of a long-running campaign of violence, harassment and threats designed to deter us from seeking justice before the courts.

In the Greater Toronto Area, I was assaulted in the street. Also in the GTA, a man with a Caribbean accent approached and threatened one of my children over this case. My family’s auto was shot up. While my former lawyer was out of Canada litigating my case, his wife and family received an intimidating anonymous phone call from a person with a Barbados accent. My lawyer’s wife gathered up her children and fled their Orillia, Ontario home in terror; exactly as was intended by the caller.

One of my witnesses was abducted and beaten at gunpoint by a person connected with the other side in Barbados. One of my witnesses was threatened with job loss if he testified, and was fired from the University of the West Indies after he testified anyway.

Illegally and behind my back, an Ontario judge secretly substituted a changed court order in a backroom meeting; off the court record and without notifying me even though I was a self-represented litigant. This kind of judicial ‘Star Chamber’ activity regularly happens in Iran or Russia, but surely not in Canada; except when it does. [5]   Read more

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