Vancouver police officer sues to stop complaint investigation

A Vancouver police officer who pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of a firearm has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court to stop a police complaints commission investigation.

Sgt. Jason Chan received a conditional discharge in 2015 for unauthorized possession of a firearm

Vancouver Police Sgt. Jason Chan has filed a B.C. Supreme Court petition seeking an order to stop a police complaints commission investigation. (CBC)

A Vancouver police officer who pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of a firearm is going to court in a bid to stop a police complaint commission investigation.

In a B.C. Supreme Court petition, Sgt. Chi Sun Jason Chan claims the commission is investigating the origins of several unregistered and restricted firearms RCMP officers found during a search of his Port Coquitlam home.

According to a notice of investigation cited in Chan's petition, officers "located a quantity of items that appear to be property seized from individuals in the course of his duties. Some of these may have been recorded and removed from the VPD Property Office, while others did not appear to have been recorded."

Officer seeks to stop probe

Chan is seeking an order to stop an investigation by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner on the grounds that it "is based entirely on material that was seized during an unlawful search and seizure" of the home he shares with his wife, Port Moody Police Const. Jody Chan.

Vancouver Police spokesman Const. Brian Montague says Chan is an active member.

VPD Const. Brian Montague said Sgt. Jason Chan is an active member of the force. (CBC)

But the department would not comment on either the ongoing complaints investigation or the civil suit.

According to Chan's petition, RCMP first obtained a search warrant for his home on Feb. 15, 2012, two days after his stepson shot himself with a handgun. His stepson died ten days later.

Chan claims police were authorized to search and seize a black handgun, 45  calibre ammunition, a towel, a shirt and his stepson's Blackberry, all of which would have been in plain view in a bedroom.

But Chain claims officers searched the whole house, seizing and noting items they would later look for as part of a second search warrant obtained on Feb. 18, including more firearms, safes, a lock box and ammunition.

"The RCMP had located these items during an illegal and unauthorized search on 15 February," the petition reads. "The RCMP had in fact already seized the lock box and keys."

Chan was charged with four counts related to the possession and storage of restricted firearms in 2014. He pleaded guilty last April, receiving a conditional discharge and six months probation.

Officer complained about RCMP

In his petition, the officer claims he was told he was the subject of a police complaints commission investigation in 2012. The file was initially given to Victoria Police to investigate, but re-assigned to RCMP in 2013.

Chan claims he complained to the commissioner several times about RCMP conducting both a criminal investigation and a Police Act investigation into him at the same time: essentially, he claims he feared his statements in one proceeding might be used against him in another.

In the petition, Chan claims little happened with the Police Act investigation until 2015.

He claims an officer asked him to attend an interview with notebooks dating back to 2001; but Chan says the commissioner has not provided him with sufficient detail about the allegations against him.

He also says the police complaint commissioner made an amended order for investigation in February 2016, which says his wife is facing "potential criminal jeopardy" as a result of the weapons found in their home.

"The claim that Jody Chan 'is facing potential criminal liability' in connection with the firearms located in the house is false," the petition reads.

Chan claims the complaint commissioner is involving his wife "for the dominant purpose of improperly coercing the petitioner to abandon his rights."

The officer claims his Charter rights were violated by the "unlawful" search which precipitated the investigation. He also claims the proceedings have been subject to unreasonable delay.

A spokesman for the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner said it has been served with the petition and planned to respond.