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Personal loyalty vs professional ethics

 
 
ManavSR
 
Reply Fri 15 Sep, 2017 10:07 pm
The situation is one where a female investigator is looking up a case involving her husband, who is a public official for corrupt practice. Now here is a situation of conflict of interest between her loyalty to her husband and her integrity towards her job.
My question is that what should be her approach. I agree that she should be impartial and objective. So should she ask her husband for his side of the story in a personal capacity as her wife ?
Doing so may seem ok, but it may actually cloud her judgement. In addition she is likely to be tormented were she to believe his innocence but was not able to prove it in her investigation. The above is my main concern.

Although the best course of action would be for her to recuse herself from the case. For investigation must not just be fair, but also be seen as fair.

Any other angles are welcome !
 
centrox
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Sep, 2017 12:59 am
@ManavSR,
ManavSR wrote:
the best course of action would be for her to recuse herself from the case.

For me, this is the only correct course of action. It is what she must do. Also, she must not mention the fact that he is being investigated to her husband. To do so would be not only a breach of "professional ethics" but, in most jurisdictions, a criminal offence, often called "misdemeanour in a public office". In Britain an immediate prison sentence would follow a conviction for this. Worse, if the revelation allowed the husband (if he was guilty) to destroy evidence she might be guilty of conspiracy.

However, if the participants in this scenario lived in one of the many countries where corruption is a way of life, maybe she could just tip him off and collect a bribe from the likely powerful and rich people he is associated with. She could even find herself with a promotion.

Is this a real life situation, or a hypothetical one?
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Sat 16 Sep, 2017 04:34 am
@ManavSR,
A recusal is the only course of action.

Frankly, in real life her supervisor would never put her into this situation in the first place, even if they were really short-handed. She would just switch with someone else, take on one of their cases, and the other person would handle her husband's case.
ManavSR
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Sep, 2017 05:02 am
@jespah,


actually in this hypothetical example, the situation is such that owing to her position she is the one in charge of this duty (being head of say the City Police)
thanx for the input
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Sep, 2017 05:04 am
@jespah,
jespah wrote:
Frankly, in real life her supervisor would never put her into this situation in the first place, even if they were really short-handed. She would just switch with someone else, take on one of their cases, and the other person would handle her husband's case.

... and she (the wife) would be watched.

0 Replies
 
ManavSR
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Sep, 2017 05:07 am
@centrox,
@centrox
this is an hypothetical example actually. We have to prepare such cases for Civil Services Exam here in India (there is this Ethics Paper). Pretty funny I know, considering the high levels of corruption here. But that is the reason this paper was included in the curriculum.
And so she should not interact with her husband to remain objective.
Thanx for the reply
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Sep, 2017 05:12 am
@ManavSR,
ManavSR wrote:
actually in this hypothetical example, the situation is such that owing to her position she is the one in charge of this duty (being head of say the City Police)
thanx for the input

Sounds like a very corrupt place if the head of police might need to investigate her own husband.

0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Sep, 2017 04:09 am
@jespah,
jespah wrote:
A recusal is the only course of action.

Frankly, in real life her supervisor would never put her into this situation in the first place

In Britain, where we have city and county police forces, if the chief officer of one force found themselves facing a potential conflict of interest because their spouse was under investigation, they would be required to immediately report the situation to their police authority. A police authority in the United Kingdom is a public authority that is responsible for overseeing the operations of a police force. The matter would most likely pass the investigation over to another different police force, possibly a neighbouring one, possibly one a long way away. Such a situation would be a serious one for the police chief, and they might face suspension. In fact, the chief police officer of a force is mainly responsible for strategic matters and does not normally personally investigate crimes, the matter would have been discovered by a subordinate who would instigate oversight action.

A typical clause in a police code of conduct:
Quote:
5. Conflicts of interests
In any case where the interests of exercising the functions of my office may conflict with any paid office or employment or any pecuniary or other interest, which has become known to me, I shall as soon as possible declare such conflict by giving notice in writing to the Chief Executive and determine whether the conflict of interest is so substantial that the function should not be exercised personally but should be delegated or dealt with in some other manner to ensure the conflict of interest does not arise. I shall not in my official capacity act as a voluntary character witness in respect of any proceedings in any court or tribunal.

0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Sep, 2017 05:44 am
@ManavSR,
ManavSR wrote:
We have to prepare such cases for Civil Services Exam here in India


Interesting paper here

http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Analytical%20Report/Police%20Reforms%20in%20India.pdf
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Sep, 2017 05:46 am
@ManavSR,
ManavSR wrote:
And so she should not interact with her husband to remain objective.

Not merely that! She should not have any involvement whatsoever with the investigation. She should not hear about it, or speak about to anyone involved.

0 Replies
 
 

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