Sunday, October 01, 2006

 

Trial is over for former Constable Ravinder Dosanjh. Judgment expected in 2 weeks

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Former officer's advice was just 'musings,' court hears
Ex-Victoria constable told his cousin to lie about source of $30,000

By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - 30 Sept. 2006


VANCOUVER -- A former Victoria police constable who is a background figure in a criminal investigation that led to raids on the British Columbia Legislature sat quietly in court yesterday while lawyers argued about whether he's guilty of obstruction of justice.

Ravinder Singh Dosanjh is accused of counselling his cousin, Mandeep Sandhu, to lie to police about the source of $30,000 that was seized by investigators during a raid of Mr. Sandhu's house on Dec. 9, 2003.

The court heard that police believe the cash is drug money.

The Sandhu raid was part of a larger investigation into drugs, money laundering and organized crime that, on Dec. 28, 2003, led police to the legislative offices of David Basi and Bob Virk, top aides in the Liberal government.

Mr. Sandhu was part of a group of B.C. Liberal Party fixers who were known in political circles as "Basi's Boys." One of their strengths was the ability to quickly sign up supporters for candidates.

Charges of fraud and breach of trust against Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk, which flowed from the raid on the legislature, have yet to come to trial.

Mr. Dosanjh's case did not explore the links between the two separate investigations. But police have said they went to the B.C. Legislature following leads that developed while they were investigating a case involving Mr. Dosanjh.

Mr. Dosanjh, 40, was suspended without pay from the Victoria Police Department in December of 2003 and subsequently left the force, ending a 13-year police career.

In court yesterday, defence lawyer Ian Donaldson argued that while his client admitted in the witness box that he told Mr. Sandhu to lie to police, he never intended for him to follow through on the advice.

He said Mr. Dosanjh was under familial and cultural obligations to help his cousin when he learned in phone calls from other relatives that Mr. Sandhu's house had been searched.

His advice to Mr. Sandhu, he said, was meant only as moral support during a moment of crisis and there was no forethought

Mr. Sandhu was part of a group of B.C. Liberal Party fixers who were known in political circles as "Basi's Boys." One of their strengths was the ability to quickly sign up supporters for candidates.

His advice to Mr. Sandhu, he said, was meant only as moral support during a moment of crisis and there was no forethought when he told his cousin to say the $30,000 was his father's.

"There must be an intention to pervert the course of justice," Mr. Donaldson argued. "It requires a willful attempt."

He said a taped phone call was central to the prosecution case, but "there's nothing about it that's planned . . . it's spur of the moment . . . this telephone call can properly be viewed as musings."

Court heard wiretaps in which Mr. Dosanjh asked Mr. Sandhu what happened in the police raid.

In earlier testimony, Mr. Dosanjh was asked by Mr. Donaldson how he would characterize the words of advice he then gave Mr. Sandhu.

"They are awful," Mr. Dosanjh said.

"It reads as if you are coaching him," Mr. Donaldson said.

"I was just trying to find out from him what happened. In essence to console him . . . more or less give him some false hope," Mr. Dosanjh said.

But under cross-examination by special Crown prosecutor William Berardino, Mr. Dosanjh struggled to explain his words.

Referring to wiretap transcripts that show Mr. Dosanjh reacting to the news $30,000 had been seized, Mr. Berardino said: "Your comment is 'Shit, that's not good.' What did you mean by that?"

Mr. Dosanjh: "It's not good for him to have cash at home."

Mr. Berardino said Mr. Dosanjh continued to probe for details about the investigation then advised Mr. Sandhu: "Just tell them that the money belongs to . . . you could say that it belongs to your dad or something . . . or just driving cab or something."

When Mr. Berardino asked Mr. Dosanjh why he'd said that, he replied: "I don't know."

In his final submission, Mr. Berardino rejected Mr. Dosanjh's claim he hadn't expected his advice to be followed and that he was only offering false hope to a relative.

"This is not false hope, this is a false statement aimed at the investigation," Mr. Berardino said.

Addressing the court, Mr. Berardino said: "Did he know there was a criminal investigation? Yes. Did he know that the statement he was advising was false? Yes . . . Did he know that he was creating a risk [of perversion of justice]? The answer overwhelmingly has to be yes, because the statement he was giving Mandeep was the basis for a brilliant defence.

"He told him to say it . . . and he told him when to say it, and this is after a long, long conversation in which all the details of the investigation are being probed."

The trial concluded yesterday. A judgment is expected in about two weeks.
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[Special thanks to The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper owned by Bell Media for publishing this story, and to Mark Hume for reporting it. I did not see this story in any of the CanWest newspapers. Did anyone? "When there is news, we plan to report it," said Times Colonist. Good one, eh?]

Comments:
Thanks for posting this update on Constable Dosanjh!

If I remember right, he was a co-owner of Dosam Developments with Jarnail Samra who used to work in the Ministry of Children and Family Development and also as a corrections officer.

http://www.bcrevolution.ca/more_links_to_crown.htm
 
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