One of the internal affairs investigators who was part of the probe that led to reporter Patrick Lagacé being spied on by the Montreal police denies he knowingly filed false information to obtain a warrant in another case.
Det.-Sgt. Iad Hanna was in his second day of testimony before the Chamberland Commission on Friday when he was asked, by commission lawyer Charles Levasseur about the serious allegation made earlier in the week. Det-Lt. Normand Borduas, another Montreal police internal affairs investigator who worked with Hanna in the past, told the commission he used information from Hanna in order to obtain a warrant in a case – unrelated to the one where Lagacé was spied on – only to find out the information was false. Borduas said Hanna told him the information came from a “coded source,” a term used to describe informants who have been carefully vetted by the investigators they work with. Borduas said he learned, two years later, that the source of the information was not a coded source. The information was used to obtain a warrant in an investigation into whether Roger Larivière, a now-retired Montreal police officer, had leaked sensitive information to a reporter.
Hanna described the situation as “complicated” and said that at the time he handed the information – in a report referred to as an F20 – over to Borduas he mistakenly assumed the person was a coded source.
Hanna said the information came from a person who was the friend of an informant he knew from past investigations. The person pulled him aside, during an unrelated investigation, and told him he had information to share about a homicide investigator. Hanna said the information seemed “banal” when he received it. But he felt it became relevant when he learned Larivière was being investigated after Larivière was spotted having dinner with Radio-Canada reporter Stéphane Berthomet at a restaurant on Mont-Royal Ave. E. on Oct. 9, 2014.
Hanna said there is a complicated bureaucracy to go through in order to confirm that a tipster is indeed a coded source. He said he later learned the source of the information was related to a coded source and both shared the same family name.
“The confusion was born there,” he said.
During another part of his testimony Hanna said: “The best sources aren’t coded sources. The best sources are people whose lives have been touched by a crime. For example, a person who lives next door to someone they suspect is dealing drugs (out of their home).”
Earlier this week, the commission was informed that Hanna is being investigated by the Sûreté du Québec for an alleged threat he made toward Borduas. According to an article published by La Presse, the alleged threat was uttered on April 10 and Hanna, who now works for a morality squad, was suspended with pay following his arrest.
Hanna told the commission he first began working with the internal affairs division after Shane Kenneth (Wheels) Maloney, a leader in Montreal’s West End Gang, ordered other people to assault a police officer from Quebec while both were at a bar in Mexico. The officer had noticed that Maloney was hanging out with a Montreal police officer and tried to take photographs of them together. The investigation into what happened opened a door to alleged crimes, including drug trafficking, committed by police officers in Montreal. Hanna said he was asked to assist internal affairs because of his past experience investigating drug traffickers.
Besides the case that has since come to be known as the Lagacé Affair, Hanna was also involved in a case where André Thibodeau, 52, a Montreal police officer at the time, was arrested in 2015 and charged with running an illegal bookmaking operation with Natalino Paccione, 62, a man with known ties to the Montreal Mafia. The case against Thibodeau fell to pieces earlier this year when the prosecution announced it could no longer prosecute Thibodeau. The prosecution was not required to explain why. But during a court hearing held before the case was dropped it was apparent there were serious problems with the evidence gathered in the investigation. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Thibodeau has alleged that internal affairs investigators lied in affidavits prepared in the investigation that led to him being charged.