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Missing-women complaint put off

Police commission won't consider complaint against force until before the fall

Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

A complaint about the Vancouver police department's handling of the missing-women case will not be considered until at least this fall, the police complaints commission said Tuesday.

Commissioner Don Morrison said that because of the continuing criminal investigation into the case, the complaint by Surrey-Newton MLA Tony Bhullar will not be considered for at least six months.

Bhullar said in an interview that he will look at introducing a private members' bill calling for a public inquiry because of the commission's inaction.

He said if there was a problem with how the Vancouver police handled the case, the public needs to know today -- not months done the road.

Even though a Port Coquitlam pig farmer has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of two of the missing women, Bhullar said his complaint was intended to deal with systemic problems with the Vancouver police investigation and nothing specifically about evidence related to the criminal proceedings.

Others calling for a public inquiry or investigation include former Vancouver police officers Kim Rossmo and Doug MacKay-Dunn, politicians such as New Democratic Party MP Libby Davies and Vancouver Councillor Tim Louis, as well as several relatives of the 50 missing women.

Bhullar said it is a matter of public safety to find out what went wrong. "If there are systemic problems and they are not dealt with, then public safety is an issue," he said. "We need to find out what went wrong today, not tomorrow."

But Morrison's letter to Bhullar states clearly that the commission agrees with the Vancouver department's belief that any investigation into the police role in the case must wait.

"An investigation of the complaint should not be initiated at this time because it may compromise an ongoing criminal investigation and related prosecution," Morrison said in a letter dated Tuesday.

Bhullar was also given a copy of a letter from Vancouver police Inspector Rob Rothwell urging the complaints commission to wait for the same reason.

But Bhullar said an outside police agency should be advising Morrison on how to handle the matter, not the one that is the subject of the complaint.

A Vancouver Sun investigation revealed last fall that the initial Vancouver police investigation into the missing women case, begun in 1998 and stalled by 2000, was assigned to inexperienced officers and marred by infighting and a lack of resources.

kbolan@pacpress.southam.ca 

 Copyright  2002 Vancouver Sun

Bhullar unhappy commission won't purse complaint-Mar 20, 2002

 

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Updated: August 21, 2016