Charges of theft have been approved against the RCMP investigator accused of sleeping with a witness in the Surrey Six murder case – moments before Mounties announced he has resigned from the force.

Along with three other officers, Sgt. Derek Brassington is accused of 20 criminal counts, including fraud, obstruction of justice and compromising the safety of a witness. Trials will begin for the accused this summer.

The case has been delayed amidst squabbling in the force about who would pay for the legal bills to defend the Mounties.

The four officers were charged and suspended in 2010 after allegations arose that Brassington had slept with a witness in the 2007 murder case.

Further investigation led to numerous additional allegations, including that officers claimed false expenses and overtime while others tried to cover for them.

The Criminal Justice Branch announced Thursday that Brassington is charged with theft under $5,000, and will make a first appearance in court next week.

The charge relates to an off-duty incident alleged to have occurred in Burnaby on March 30. Court documents reveal the incident is linked to merchandise stolen from Canlan Ice Sports in Burnaby.

A formal statement from RCMP Supt. Brian Cantera was issued to media moments after the charges against Brassington were made public, saying the officer has been discharged from the force.

Cantera said RCMP knew about the recent allegations against Brassington, and the charges recommended by Crown Counsel are a result of the force pursuing the investigation by the Burnaby detachment.

Brassington, who is also the subject of a separate internal code of conduct investigation, voluntarily submitted discharge documents to his commanding officer this morning.

Cantera said the force has sought out the officer’s dismissal, and the opportunity to discharge him from the organization eliminates “further delays, costs and uncertainty.”

“Mr. Brassington’s career with the RCMP has ended. As a private citizen he will no longer be subject to any disciplinary actions under the RCMP Act and we will not be commenting further about his employment,” Cantera said.

The investigation into Brassington and Sgt. David Attew, Cpl. Paul Johnston and Cpl. Danny Michaud has been heavily criticized after it was learned the officers had been paid roughly $1-million combined since being suspended from the force in 2010.

Brassington and Attew have been charged with claiming false expenses and overtime while probing the case, while Johnston and Michaud are accused of trying to cover for them.

The Surrey Six murders were committed in a high-rise apartment unit in October 2007. Two innocent bystanders, 22-year-old Chris Mohan and 55-year-old gas fitter Ed Schellenberg, were among the victims.