A special prosecutor has approved charges including breach of trust and obstruction of justice against four RCMP officers involved in the investigation of a 2007 gangland slaying that left six dead in a Surrey, B.C., highrise.
Christopher Considine has approved a total of 20 charges against officers Sgt. Derek Brassington, Staff Sgt. David Attew, Cpl. Paul Johnston and Cpl. Danny Michaud.
RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong said she was deeply disappointed in the officers.
"The investigators charged in this case were senior, experienced and trusted police officers," Armstrong told a Vancouver news conference Thursday. "What is alleged to have occurred was a breach of policy, protocol and the law. Fundamentally, it was an abuse of the trust that the public places in police."
The officers were all involved in the investigation of the so-called Surrey Six killings, in which two of the victims were innocent bystanders.
The victims' bodies were discovered in the apartment unit after neighbours complained of a foul odour, and police soon concluded that two of the victims — Chris Mohan, 22, and Ed Schellenberg, 55 — were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Victims' families informed
The RCMP eventually asked the Ontario Provincial Police as an independent outside agency to investigate the officers' conduct.
Earlier this year, the province's Criminal Justice Branch publicly announced that Considine was appointed to look into allegations of an inappropriate relationship between an officer involved in the investigation and a witness.
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.
Brassington allegedly had a relationship with a woman who also previously had relationships with 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.
The woman is a potential witness in future trials, and the alleged relationship with Brassington would compromise the integrity of both the Surrey Six investigation and her testimony at future trials.
No details have been revealed about the offences allegedly committed by the other three officers.
Armstrong said the RCMP has updated the families of the victims on the charges against the officers.
"There's no question that this is the last thing these families should have to deal with in the context of the murder of their loved ones," she said.
All four officers were suspended with pay. They also face internal RCMP code of conduct investigations.
Armstrong said Thursday that the force is seeking to have the officers suspended without pay.