Derek Brassington, seen as a “rising star” in the RCMP, partied with and had sex with a witness in the Surrey Six murder investigation in locations across Canada over a period of months.
The details of the misconduct of Brassington and two other Mounties who also pleaded guilty in connection with their duties during the investigation of B.C.’s biggest-ever gangland slaying, can be reported for the first time after a publication ban was lifted Wednesday.
After submissions by media lawyer Daniel Coles, B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes set aside much of the ban imposed on the circumstances of the case when Brassington, David Attew and Danny Michaud pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
In an agreed statement of facts, it was revealed that Brassington became involved with the witness, who can only be identified as Jane Doe 1 due to an ongoing ban, in June 2009 when she moved to Calgary and agreed to co-operate with police. During the next several months, Jane Doe 1, who had knowledge of the October 2007 murders in Surrey and had been threatened, was relocated to various places throughout Canada. To keep her on-board as a witness, investigators with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) assigned Brassington to work with her.
Between June and December 2009 Brassington engaged in an ongoing relationship with Jane Doe 1, frequently drinking alcohol with her. He lied to fellow police officers and manipulated the witness protection program in order to spend time alone with her.
They had sex together in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Victoria, Toronto and the Lower Mainland. Brassington compromised her security on several occasions and billed the RCMP for witness management trips that included his pursuit of his relationship with her, including billing overtime for hours spent drinking and having sex with her.
“This conduct constituted a breach of trust and amounted to a serious and marked departure from the standard of conduct expected of an RCMP officer engaged in witness management duties,” said the agreed statement of facts.
Particulars of the offence include a trip by Brassington to Calgary in June 2009 that saw him and another officer exploring Jane Doe’s willingness to co-operate with the investigation. They took her out to dinner and while the other cop was in a washroom, Brassington and Jane Doe discussed a plan to spend time alone together. Brassington and Jane Doe told the other cop that Jane Doe was going to spend the night at a friend’s house.
But after Brassington and the cop returned to their hotel, Brassington returned to the bar where Jane Doe had agreed to wait for him and then took the witness back to his hotel where they had sex.
The next month, when Brassington flew to Halifax to attend to another witness, he obtained authorization to fly Jane Doe out to Halifax to meet with him for the purpose of securing her co-operation in the investigation. She provided information about the murders, but also spent three nights at his hotel having sex with Brassington.
Then the pair flew together to Montreal where they had sex again in a hotel. When Brassington’s supervisor became aware that he was alone in Montreal with Jane Doe, he called Brassington and cautioned him to meet with her only in public. Another officer arrived in Montreal, but Brassington and Jane Doe continued to have sex without the officer’s knowledge.
At one point in a bar in Calgary, Brassington, Jane Doe and others bought and consumed $800 worth of alcohol. Jane Doe sat on Brassington’s lap and kissed him in front of others.
At another point in the relationship, after they had had an argument, Brassington sent her a text bemoaning the “constant slinking around,” the excessive drinking and the “feelings of absolute guilt” toward his kids. He told her he didn’t enter into the relationship thinking they’d fall in love.
“The more attached I become to you, the more anxiety I feel over it,” said Brassington. “I want you to have a fresh start in life and feel that I have totally f—ed that up by allowing all this to happen.”
Brassington received a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community after a joint submission from the Crown and defence.
In imposing sentence, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman accepted the joint submission and found that the conditional sentence could properly address the applicable sentencing principles.
Brassington gave an emotional apology in court, saying that the Surrey Six file came on the heels of the investigation into the RCMP’s tasering of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport and that he initially saw the murder probe as a chance to redeem the force.
“But instead of restoring the public trust, I killed it. I made it a thousand times worse with what I did,” he said.
Attew and Michaud admitted to a much lesser involvement in the case, pleading guilty to non-criminal misconduct and receiving shorter, house-arrest sentences.
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