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RCMP charges could impact Surrey Six prosecution

(CBC News) – A police psychologist says the charges laid against four senior RCMP investigators handling the Surrey Six slaying have given the accused a big break to fight their murder charges.

“Behaving in this way now has given defence counsel … in the Surrey Six case … a huge lever,” Dr. Mike Webster told CBC News.

On Thursday, the force announced four senior RCMP officers involved in the investigation of a 2007 shooting that left six dead in a Surrey, B.C., high-rise are facing a total of 20 charges for obstruction of justice, breach of trust and fraud.

The investigation into the officers began with a report one of the officers, Sgt. Derek Brassington, allegedly had a relationship and impregnated a woman who was a potential witness in the case.

The woman was the former girlfriend of Dennis Karbovanec, who has pleaded guilty in the Surrey Six slayings, and Jamie Bacon, who is charged with a role in the killings but has yet to stand trial.

No details have been revealed about the offences allegedly committed by the other three officers, Staff Sgt. David Attew, Cpl. Paul Johnston and Cpl. Danny Michaud.

But the special prosecutor has recommended that Brassington and Attew each face charges of breach of trust, obstruction of justice and fraud, while Johnston and Michaud should face charges of breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

Questions raised about RCMP Taser investigation
Webster said the charges against the RCMP also raise questions about the highly-criticized investigation into the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport because two of the officers charged were also involved in that internal RCMP investigation of fellow officers.

“Any reasonable person would now wonder about other investigations that these particular members have been involved in and I’m sure people are going to start taking a look at them and reviewing them,” he said.

Attew was also the team commander in the Dziekanski investigation and Brassington was the primary investigator.

While they found no fault in the conduct of the officers involved in Dziekanzki’s death, the four Mounties involved were recently charged with perjury, following a special external investigation.

Webster said the RCMP has a big credibility problem and senior brass are setting a poor example for the rank and file members to follow.

“My opinion is the organization is rotting from the top down,” said Webster.

He notes RCMP Commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli recently resigned over contradictory testimony he gave in the Mahar Arar investigation.

“It starts at the top. The tone, the bar is set at the top and there’s nobody at the top setting the bar. The house needs to be swept clean,” said Webster.

Victim’s mother saddened by charges
Meanwhile, the mother of one of the Surrey Six victims said she’s saddened that criminal charges have been laid against four RCMP officers investigating the gangland slaying, but hopes it won’t affect any upcoming trials.

Chris Mohan was one of two innocent bystanders killed in the 2007 gangland slaying. His mother Eileen Mohan said her son deserved better.

“These four officers actually acted in a way that the death of my son meant nothing to them,” she told CBC News. “I felt really let down by these four officers.

“But I was lifted up by so many other officers and their behaviours and their respect towards me, and I must tell you they are all very much appalled at what these four have done, which makes them all look really bad,” she said.

Mohan said she also hopes that new charges won’t endanger the Surrey Six investigation or any upcoming trials.

“There’s no way that something like this will let — I believe — will let these people walk on technical grounds.”

The case will proceed by direct indictment to B.C. Supreme Court where the four officers are scheduled to make their first court appearances July 11.

Report of affair sparked investigation
RCMP Chief Superintendent Janice Armstrong said the officers will likely testify against the accused in the Surrey Six killings, but she wouldn’t speculate how the charges might affect the integrity of the investigation and any trials.

“I think that’s going to be for the courts to decide,” she said.

Armstrong said Thursday the officers also face internal RCMP code of conduct investigations and the force is seeking to have the officers suspended without pay.

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Categories: Breach Of Trust, External Reviews, Failing to do Their Duties, Mounties Breaking The Law, Mounties Charged, Other Law Enforcement Agencies, Senior Management, Shoddy Investigations.

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3 Responses

  1. Although the woman is classified as a “potential” witness this will not help the 4 miscreants in any legal forum. If there ever was an intent to use that witness, it will have evaporated. There is no excuse for having relations with even a potential witness from an ethics (or moral IMO) perspective. When the court case is underway, any evidence that they have to give will be subject of great scrutiny vis a vis credibility. Under McNeil, all the woe will be disclosed to the defense, who will cast all testimony under the light of judgment, in respect to the the conduct with the witness, and veracity in respect to the abuse of the overtime system by false or unauthorized claims. One can only hope that enough testimony from other witnesses will corroborate any given by the suspect officers.

    Armstrong is correct in saying that the courts will decide. The weight of any testimony from the “twits”, as sickntired refers to them, will rest with the trial judge. In any event it will be a media circus.

    Unfortunately there is no charge for stupidity. I would think that the serious legal implications that could arise (and have arisen) would be sufficient for suspension without pay. It is certainly more than enough to have them terminated. Most of the charges will relate to the overtime claims (fraud), with the obstruction of justice /breach of trust aimed at the issues surrounding the potential witness and its not being revealed earlier.

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    Deepthroat2011.06.27 @ 15:17
  2. The investigation into the officers began with a report one of the officers, Sgt. Derek Brassington, allegedly had a relationship and impregnated a woman who was a potential witness in the case.
    CBC News

    What a mess. Will the RCMP have to pay child support because of the relationship that they had?

    I think that Deepthroat should tackle this situation. He has a great deal of insite regarding these type of incidents where applying the law comes into question.

    Lives will be changed, and money will be paid out by the citizens of Canada.

    Lack of productivity by the members.

    Everyone involved are adults. They can fend for themselves. The Child does not have that choice.

    Calvin Lawrence

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    Calvin Lawrence2011.06.25 @ 17:16
  3. It appears from other news items that 3 of these members are being charged because they knew of Sgt. Brassington’s stupidity and attempted to cover it up and mislead internal investigators.

    I’m guessing that the lies began in hopes of keeping Brassington’s idiotic behaviour under wraps for fear the trials would be affected. It would have been better if Insp. Attew had pulled Brassington off the case as soon as this matter came to his attention and come clean about it. The result would have been the public impression that Attew at least had some integrity and common sense and possibly limited the damage to one bad apple instead of four. Didn’t work and once again RCMP management looks both stupid and shifty.

    As for the Surrey Six trials the credibility of these officers will be in doubt every time they speak. They have been outed as liars and the question in the minds of the jury will be are they lying now?

    There is one bright spot although a small one – the RCMP is looking to suspend these 4 twits without pay.

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    sickntired2011.06.25 @ 17:12
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