‘Surrey Six’ murder investigators accused of sex with potential witnesses

VANCOUVER â€” Newly revealed allegations suggest not one but two officers on the Surrey Six file had affairs with potential witnesses, even attending a weekend sex party while working on the high-profile case.

And those same two officers, Derek Brassington and Dave Attew, allegedly hit on other women while boasting about their undercover police work, defence lawyer Brock Martland said Tuesday.

Martland told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge that the behaviour of Brassington and Attew was part of a pattern of misconduct by members of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team during the murder probe.

Martland argued that the abuse by police was serious enough to have murder charges stayed against his client, Matthew Johnston, and Cody Haevischer. Both Red Scorpion gangsters were convicted earlier this month in the 2007 Surrey Six slayings.

Brassington and Attew, his former supervisor on the case, and two other Mounties are facing criminal charges stemming from their work on the Surrey Six investigation.

While details of an improper relationship between Brassington and a potential witness were revealed in 2010, information about Attew also allegedly having an affair with a woman involved in the case has never been disclosed publicly.

Martland said that when Attew learned of Brassington’s affair, “rather than putting an end to it or reporting it to his supervisor, he condoned it and participated in sexual misconduct.”

He said that in November 2009, the two officers were supposed to go meet another witness in the case over an issue that had arisen.

“Instead of dealing with that urgent situation, the officers stop en route for effectively a weekend of sex partying,” Martland said.

The identities of the women involved in the alleged affairs are covered by publication bans.

Martland said that both Attew and Brassington also hit on women on other occasions while working on the murder case.

Attew was in a bar in Whistler when he talked about his work on Surrey Six and made “inappropriate overtures,” Martland said.

Brassington was in a hot tub at the YMCA “boasting about the money he’s making, confessing to an affair and how it all arose in the context of his work on the Surrey Six.”

“There is a recurrent gender issue to all of this, with these male officers and a highly male-dominated IHIT team investigating this offence, dealing at various instances with females, some of them in highly vulnerable situations,” Martland said.

He said the conduct continued over months, amounting to a systemic problem with the Surrey Six investigation that is “more than serious enough to warrant a stay.”

Martland said that at the very least, there are enough questions about the police conduct in the case for a full “investigative hearing” to take place.

Brassington and Attew are charged with fraud, obstruction of justice and breach of trust, and Brassington is also charged with compromising the safety of a witness. Mounties Paul Johnston and Danny Michaud are charged with obstruction of justice, breach of trust and misleading Ontario Provincial Police investigators. The trial for all four officers is scheduled to begin next September.

Crown prosecutor Mark Levitz wants the defence abuse of process application dismissed without a full hearing, which would be held in December if ordered.

Levitz noted that none of the four officers charged were witnesses against Haevischer and Johnston.

Martland also argued that Johnston’s Charter rights were violated when he was arrested in April 2009 and held in solitary confinement on the orders of police for 14 months.

He said his client was “alone in a small room, a small holding cell for 22 or 23 hours out of every day, isolated, cut off from conduct within the jail and with the outside world.”

The hearing is expected to continue all week.

Kbolan@vancouversun.com

Read Kim Bolan’s blog: vancouversun.com/therealscoop

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