Pubdate: Wed, 18 Oct 2006
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Victoria News
Author: Brennan Clarke


Verdict Triggers Disciplinary Action by Victoria Police

Three years ago, Victoria police Const. Rob Dosanjh made a phone call 
that got him suspended him without pay, charged with obstruction of 
justice and that very well could cost him his career.

It was Dec. 9, 2003, and police had raided the Saanich home of 
Dosanjh's cousin, Mandeep Sandhu, seizing three ounces of marijuana, 
$35,000 in cash, a computer and some personal papers. Family members 
immediately called Dosanjh, a 13-year veteran of the force, and asked 
for help dealing with the situation.

Dosanjh called Sandhu and advised his cousin to lie about the origin 
of the money, unaware the entire conversation was being recorded by a 
police wiretap.

Last week, B.C. Supreme Court Judge Carol Baird Ellan convicted 
Dosanjh of "willfully attempting to obstruct, pervert or defeat 
justice" by counselling Sandhu to make "false statements to police."

The verdict means the resumption of B.C. Police Act proceedings 
against Dosanjh that could cost him his job. Those proceedings have 
been sidelined since charges were laid in January 2005 pending the 
outcome of the trial.

"There's disciplinary authority under the act and that can range from 
no discipline all the way to termination," said police Chief Paul 
Battershill. "The Police Act is suspended pending the disposition of 
criminal charges."

In her decision, Baird Ellan said the conversation left no doubt in 
her mind that Dosanjh knowingly counselled Sandhu to lie. She 
rejected defence lawyer Ian Donaldson's argument his clients comment 
were "musings" and hypothetical suggestions.

"The language Dosanjh used was not merely suggestive. It was positive 
advice and included a suggestion that the uncle 'attest' to the story 
as well," the judge observed.

Baird Ellan found that Dosanjh knew the funds were likely the 
proceeds of crime and provided his cousin with a basis for attempting 
to get the money back.

Court documents show that Victoria police had Sandhu under active 
investigation for drug trafficking in 2002 and 2003. Police were also 
targeting Jas Bains, a "known associate" of Sandhu's. Officer Dosanjh 
knew about both investigations.

As early as 2001, Dosanjh's "superior officer and friend, Sgt. Gord 
Cochrane," warned Dosanjh not to associate with Sandhu.

Fearing that Dosanjh was leaking information to his cousin, police 
placed the veteran officer under surveillance. In hundreds of 
recorded phone conversations, Dosanjh never crossed the line until 
police raided his cousin's house.

Six days later, Dosanjh was suspended.

Two weeks later, the same investigation that targeted Sandhu led 
police to the provincial legislature, where investigators seized 
files from the offices of senior ministerial assistants Dave Basi and 
his cousin Bob Virk.

The raid, part of an RCMP probe into drug trafficking, organized 
crime and money laundering, revealed evidence of political corruption 
in the sale of BC Rail, resulting fraud, bribery and breach of trust 
charges against Basi, Virk and another relative, Aneal Basi.

The following August, Sandhu, Bains and Dave Basi were among eight 
people charged in a Canada-wide drug trafficking conspiracy. The drug 
charges against Basi and Sandhu have since been stayed.

Three of Sandhu's co-accused have already plead guilty to drug 
charges. The other three, including Bains, are scheduled to appear in 
court this fall.

Bains's preliminary hearing is scheduled fro Oct. 23 in Victoria.

Battershill said Police Act proceedings against Dosanjh could take 
several weeks.

Donaldson said Monday he and his client have yet to decide whether 
there will be an appeal.


One of the most telling exchanges between Victoria police Const. Rob 
Dosanjh and his cousin, Mandeep Sandhu, went like this:

Sandhu: "I don't know, I'll just say (the money) was my uncle's."

Dosanjh: "Yeah, well exactly, just say, does (uncle) Harvinder drive a cab?"

Sandhu: "Yeah."

Dosanjh: "Just tell 'em you were saving it for him over the years."

Sandhu: "All right."

Dosanjh: "And he's gotta attest to it too, right?"

Sandhu: "All right."

Dosanjh: "OK.

Sandhu: "I don't know, I'll figure it out."

Dosanjh: "All right, well, talk to a lawyer before you say who the 
cash belonged to."
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