Questions Justice Patrick Dohm's appointee should consider in police Const. Griffin Gillan public hearing

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has ordered a public hearing into  a January 21, 2009  incident involving three off-duty  police officers and newspaper delivery person Firoz Khan.

Khan, who was working for Dolphin Delivery,  alleged he was beaten by the officers outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the early morning.

West Vancouver police Const. Griffin Gillan was convicted of assault and sentenced to 21 days in jail, to be served in the community.

Abbotsford police Chief Bob Rich oversaw an investigation under the Police Act  that found Gillan guilty of two disciplinary defaults, and he was reduced in rank to probationary constable.

This week, Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe exercised his legal authority to order the public hearing, which will be presided over by a judge appointed by  Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm.

Two other officers were with Gillian, who had reportedly been drinking heavily.   New Westminster police  Const. Jeffrey Roger Klassen, who  has taught  use-of-force techniques to police,  was charged with assault.

A Delta police officer wasn't charged.

I fully expect Dohm's apppintment  to allow the commission counsel to probe into the conduct of the three officers and allow for cross-examination of Khan by Gillan's lawyer.

Here's what I'm not expecting to occur at this public hearing:

1. An examination of Kash Heed's role as chief of the West Vancouver police in the period following the assault. Heed is now the solicitor general. I'm interested in hearing if Heed, in his communications with the media,  may or may not have violated any rights that Gillan might have had as an officer under investigation.

2. A review of the speedy response of the Vancouver Police Department in a case involving these  off-duty officers, who didn't have the protection of their union. They didn't enjoy  union protection  because their alleged offences didn't occur while they were on the job. Ideally, this review  would be contrasted with the response of the Vancouver Police Department to complaints against officers who are on the job and who enjoy the full protection of the union.

3. Recommendations to address any discrepancies between the way police chiefs respond to complaints against off-duty officers who are not under the protection of their union and the way  police chiefs  respond to complaints against on-duty officers under the protection of their union.

If the public  hearing addresses these three  areas, it might be worth the cost, which I expect will stretch into the millions of dollars after the lawyers get through all of their judicial-review applications of Dohm's preliminary rulings.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

Comments

6 Comments

Gw

Mar 6, 2010 at 10:38pm

It's not Patrick Dohm who is going to preside over the public hearing, it is retired judge HD Boyle, Dohm made the appointment.

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dave jones

Mar 6, 2010 at 11:30pm

I'm curious why the writer wants attention paid to the differences between how on and off duty officers are treated when they get into trouble. Does he want union protection extended to off duty officers who commit crimes, or does he want the protections weakened for on duty officers who commit crimes.

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Charlie Smith

Mar 7, 2010 at 7:47am

Thanks Gw.
I change the wording to make it accurate.

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RodSmelser

Mar 8, 2010 at 12:29pm

I have the same question as Dave Jones.
Rod Smelser

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beelzebub

Mar 10, 2010 at 5:25pm

I think Ian Mulgrew should be appointed.

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glen p robbins

Mar 16, 2010 at 9:07am

Unless there is some other element to this case, based on the information in the article there is no need for an inquiry. Two of the three officers described have been charged, one of whom is convicted criminally and has been punished at work. The other charged will face prosecution. The third is not named.

There is certainly a story and issues here -- but not an inquiry--(unless there was something else involved that isn't being discussed).

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