HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Victoria Cop Obstructed Justice
Pubdate: Thu, 12 Oct 2006
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Times Colonist
Author: Louise Dickson, Gerry Bellett, CanWest News Service
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Constable Counselled Cousin To Lie In Case Linked To 03 Legislature Raids

Victoria police officer Ravinder (Rob) Singh Dosanjh has been found 
guilty of obstruction of justice in a case linked to the December 
2003 police raids on the B.C. legislature.

In North Vancouver provincial court yesterday, Judge Carol Baird 
Ellan found Dosanjh counselled his cousin to lie about the ownership 
of $35,000 in suspected drug money found in his cousin's home during 
an undercover operation. He 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 police department came to 
fear that Dosanjh was leaking information to Sandhu and set up an 
undercover operation with the assistance of the RCMP's anti-corruption unit.

That operation led to the December 2003 raid. A drug charge laid 
against Sandhu as a result of the raid has since been stayed.

After hearing about the verdict yesterday, Victoria police Chief Paul 
Battershill said that members of the force "are sad for Rob and his 
family. He was well regarded here."

But, he added: "There's also some realization that the department was 
able to deal with it properly when it came to our attention."

Dosanjh, who was suspended without pay from the Victoria police 
department in January 2005, still faces a Police Act investigation, 
which will eventually be reviewed by the police complaint commissioner.

"The police act has to proceed because of his employment status," 
said Battershill. "He's still technically a police officer."

The chief did not know whether Dosanjh planned to appeal his conviction.

According to the judge, 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.

The investigation wound down in the fall of 2003, but wiretaps were 
still in place on both Sandhu and Dosanjh's phones. The wiretaps 
captured their conversation concerning the raid on Sandhu's home.

A transcript shows Dosanjh asking his cousin if the police found 
anything. Sandhu tells him they found more than $30,000 in cash. 
Dosanjh tells Sandhu he shouldn't have kept the money at home and 
tells him to say it belonged to his father. He later advises Sandhu 
to say it belongs to his uncle or to say he'd been saving it up over the years.

Ellan said it was clear from the conversation that "Dosanjh believed 
the cash was proceeds of crime."

"At the end of the conversation, Dosanjh left Sandhu armed with 
advice that if accepted and acted upon would obstruct justice," said the judge.

Dosanjh left the courthouse yesterday with tearful family members. He 
told reporters he had nothing to say.

A date for a sentencing hearing has yet to be set.

The investigation of Dosanjh and Sandhu was part of a large police 
probe that also led to the Dec. 28, 2003, police raids on the 
legislature after which drug charges were laid against several 
people. Those were followed by breach of trust charges against former 
ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk, whose offices at the 
legislature were searched. Their trial date has been delayed until December.
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