Thursday, October 12, 2006
Victoria officer guilty of obstruction
Cousin advised to lie about ownership of $35,000 of suspected drug cash
Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Former Victoria police officer Ravinder Singh Dosanjh has been found guilty of obstruction of justice for counselling his cousin to lie about the ownership of $35,000 in suspected drug money found in his cousin's home during an undercover operation that would eventually lead police to raid the B.C. legislature.
Provincial Court Judge Carol Baird Ellan, sitting in North Vancouver, dismissed claims by Dosanjh that his taped telephone conversation with his cousin Mandeep Sandhu on Dec. 9, 2003, was an attempt to console him and give him "false hope" that he would get the money back.
The conversation came after police raided Sandhu's home earlier that day and confiscated the cash and three ounces of marijuana.
According to evidence, Victoria police had suspected Sandhu of being a drug dealer since the late 1990s and friends within the department had warned Dosanjh-- who was on the force 13 years -- to stay away from his younger cousin.
By early 2003 the department came to fear that Dosanjh was leaking information to his cousin and set up an undercover operation with the assistance of the RCMP's anti-corruption unit.
Although Dosanjh was given a dozen opportunities to feed false information to his cousin and other associates there was no indication Dosanjh crossed the line, said Ellan.
The investigation was wound down in the fall of 2003 but wiretaps were still in place on both Sandhu and Dosanjh's phones. It was those wiretaps that captured their conversation concerning the raid on Sandhu's home.
A transcript of the wiretap shows Dosanjh asking his cousin if the police found anything.
He tells him they found over $30,000 in cash.
Dosanjh says he shouldn't have kept the money at home and tells him to say it belonged to his dad. He later advises him to say it belongs to his uncle or to say he'd been saving it up over the years.
Dosanjh told the court that his family expected him to do something and had the events occurred in India, he would be expected to get rid of the whole problem, but he told them he could not and would not do that.
Ellan said it was clear from the conversation that "Dosanjh believed the cash was proceeds of crime."
He said the language used by Dosanjh was not merely suggestive but positive advice.
"At the end of the conversation Dosanjh left Sandhu armed with advice that if accepted and acted upon would obstruct justice," said the judge.
The investigation that began with Dosanjh and Sandhu led to the raid on the B.C. legislature Dec. 28, 2003. That was followed by breach of trust charges against ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk, whose offices at the legislature were searched.
Both await trial.
Dosanjh, who was dismissed from the Victoria police department, left the courthouse with family members. He told reporters he had nothing to say. A number of his family were in tears.
A date for a sentencing hearing has yet to be set.