Surrey Six investigator charged with fraud
A five-year member of the RCMP assigned to the Surrey Six murder investigation has been charged with fraud in connection with two overtime claims he submitted in July and August 2009, officials announced Thursday.
The revelation comes on the same week that the force acknowledged that it is investigating another officer who allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a witness in the Surrey Six slayings – B.C.’s worst gang-related murders in history.
RCMP said they became aware of the fraud allegations in late August, prompting internal and criminal investigations.
The officer in question, Const. Steve Perrault, was assigned to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team as part of the Surrey Six investigation in late 2008, officials said. He has been placed on administrative duties.
Perrault has been charged with one count of fraud and one count of attempted fraud.
He is scheduled to appear in court on March 18.
Meanwhile, CTV News has learned more details surrounding allegations that another RCMP officer investigating the Surrey Six slayings had an unprofessional relationship with a witness.
The officer, who is also on administrative duties, is a sergeant in the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and has worked on high-profile homicide cases. He was an investigator in the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport.
The witness with whom he is alleged to have had a relationship is a former girlfriend of several gang members.
RCMP Supt. Janice Armstrong said Wednesday that officials learned of the alleged relationship in December.
She declined to say what the nature of the alleged relationship was, how long it went on for, what role the witness played in the investigation, or how the officer came into contact with her.
On Tuesday, RCMP officials said they had no information to indicate that any criminal investigation had been compromised.
But Armstrong said Wednesday it is difficult to say what the impact will be.
“The information will have to be weighed by Crown Counsel,” she said.
Criminal Justice Branch spokesman Neil MacKenzie said Wednesday that Crown Counsel had not yet received any information from police or evidence from the witness.
Lawyer Terry La Liberte, who is defending one of the Surrey Six suspects, said Wednesday if the allegations are true it could taint the reliability of the witness.
“That witness has to be there presumably to give best evidence possible. This only muddies it up,” he said.
It will also raise questions about other cases the officer has investigated, he said.
“It’s going to concern us with every case he’s ever been involved in.”
Six men, including two innocent bystanders, were gunned down in a high-rise apartment in 2007 in Surrey.
Six people were subsequently charged in connection with the killings.
One of the six, Dennis Karbovanec, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Five others are awaiting trial.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Lisa Rossington