The head of the RCMP has told a former Mountie who had an affair with a potential witness in the Surrey Six murder case that the force will not pay his massive legal bill.
In a letter sent to Derek Brassington in the summer, Commissioner Brenda Lucki informed the one-time member of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team that his application for $255,383 had been reviewed and rejected by federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
“You were a supervisor and one of the investigators on the IHIT. Your conduct was a serious and marked departure from the standards expected of a police officer assigned to the care and protection of a witness. By your actions, you placed protected witnesses and a potential confidential informant in danger,” said Lucki’s July 30 letter, a copy of which was obtained by Postmedia.
“Based on the foregoing, the minister found that you do not meet the eligibility criteria of the policy.”
Brassington worked on the investigation into the slaughter of six people, including two bystanders, in a Surrey high-rise on Oct. 19, 2007 by members of the Red Scorpion gang.
In January 2019, he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and breach of trust in connection with the sexual relationship he had with the potential witness, who can only be identified as Jane Doe 1 due to a publication ban.
He 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.
An agreed statement of facts said that Brassington started his affair with the woman in June 2009 after she had agreed to cooperate with police in the gangland homicide investigation. He met her for sex in cities across Canada over a six-month period, frequently drinking with her, the statement said.
And he lied to fellow police officers and manipulated the witness-protection program in order to spend time alone 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,” the statement said.
Brassington gave an emotional apology in court for the damage he had done to the RCMP’s reputation.
The former cop applied for legal aid under the Treasury Board Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification. He had won an internal arbitration in 2017 saying his mounting legal bills would be paid.
But in 2018, when he submitted the request to have the $255,383.57 paid out of the public purse, he was refused.
Lucki said the minister considered the investigation into Brassington’s conduct done by the Ontario Provincial Police in 2010, as well as internal disciplinary documents, the application and the 2017 grievance decision.
“In considering an employee request for legal assistance or indemnification, the approval authorities determine whether the employee acted in good faith; did not act against the interests of the Crown and acted within the scope of his/her duties or course of employment with respect to the acts or omissions giving rise to the request,” she wrote.
Lucki said in her letter that the federal government policy “provides that, in exceptional circumstances, legal assistance may be authorized where a Crown servant does not meet the basic eligibility criteria.”
But Goodale decided “that it would not be in the public interest to approve your request. Accordingly your request for legal assistance at public expense is denied,” she said.
The RCMP declined to comment when contacted about the letter.
Brassington’s lawyer Ian Donaldson said he was unable to comment without consulting his client. Postmedia could not reach Brassington directly.
Red Scorpions Matthew Johnston and Cody Haevischer were found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the Surrey Six case. They are appealing their convictions. Gang leader Michael Le pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Another gang member who can only be identified Person X pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Some of the accused received public funding for their lawyers.