Michael Ford
Legal Suppliers

Second lens on police investigations can change the outcome

MKD International Inc. takes a second look at police investigations for individuals and families unsatisfied with the original outcome, says Jim Downs, the company’s founding partner and managing director.

Private investigation involvement generally only begins when the police have concluded their work or have exhausted the probe, Downs tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“You can’t do much of any significance when the case is still in the hands of the police, because they hold all the evidence and relevant information, although you can act as more of a liaison between the family and law enforcement,” he says. “Generally, if an investigation has reached its conclusion, and clients are unsatisfied with the outcome, that’s when we get involved.”

Criminal lawyers will often contact the firm on behalf of clients, Downs says.

“We sometimes get involved on behalf of victims of crime and in family law cases too. Accident investigation is another area where we come in,” he says. “But what it comes down to is reviewing what police have done, and going through the layers of their investigation to see if there is information that may have been overlooked.”

As a retired Toronto detective himself, Downs says he knows only too well how stretched police resources are across the country, limiting the time and effort officers can put into certain cases.

“If the police missed something or part of the investigation wasn't done properly, then we can fill in those gaps and possibly change the outcome,” he says.

Many of MKD’s clients often approach his firm after becoming a victim of fraud, an area Downs says has slipped way down police priority lists. The trend has been compounded in recent years due to fraud’s status as a “growth industry,” he adds.  

In such cases, Downs says MKD plays an active role in investigations; interviewing witnesses and collecting documents. Having pulled together a file, they can help clients present their findings to police.

“Officers will review the material we provide and if they agree there is enough evidence to lay criminal charges, they will continue the investigation," he says.   

Whether they’re checking up on existing police work or presenting a case to them, Downs says his company has a strong relationship with working officers due to their shared backgrounds. MKD is the only firm of its size in Canada comprised entirely of former police. 

“We are very upfront with police services. We’ll call and advise them what we’re doing,” Down says. “For the most part, police officers understand why you’re there and don’t have a problem with it.”

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