Wednesday, August 29



VANCOUVER -- Government and police watchdog groups are concerned a police raid at the home of a man connected with a whistle-blower Internet blog targeting RCMP corruption was politically motivated.

About a half-dozen officers, using a warrant for defamatory libel, seized several computers and cellphones from the man, who helped to set up the Re-Sergeance Alliance blog site. He also recently assisted the Mounties in finding online photos of Coquitlam, BC, RCMP Cpl. Jim Brown engaged in graphic S&M activities.

Brown, who was involved in the investigation into serial killer pig farmer Robert Pickton, was cleared of wrongdoing by the force in 2010 before a new probe was ordered in July.

Michael Vonn, policy director for the BC Civil Liberties Association, said this type of warrant is rarely used.

“Almost invariably when it’s invoked, it’s a critic of the police,’’ Vonn said. “This should concern all Canadians.”

Police investigating a crime against themselves creates “a massive accountability deficit here.”

Lawyer Cameron Ward, who is representing the families of Pickton’s victims at the Missing Women Inquiry, is concerned officers involved in the raid were aware of his private discussions with the suspect.

“I’m concerned with whether the RCMP have been intercepting my communications and, more importantly, why such a response was deemed necessary,’’ Ward said.

Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, called the timing of the raid “very suspicious.’’

“Obviously this blog embarrassed the RCMP and its senior staff,’’ Bateman said.

“They better have a rock solid legal reason for going in there.’’

The man under investigation by the RCMP requested anonymity for fears of his personal safety. He wrote in a letter to the media that he believes he is being targeted as the “truth emerges that they were responsible for uncovering Jim Brown’s secrets years ago and not dealing with them.”

Monday, August 27

Search for missing woman. Suzy Duguay's car found abandoned at Ashcroft Hospital

Last Updated: Monday, August 27th, 2012

suzie duguay

Ashcroft RCMP, and Kamloops Search and rescue spent the weekend searching for a woman reported missing on a trip from Vancouver to Williams Lake.  37 year old Suzie Duguay's abandoned car, a 2010 Mazda 3, was located parked at the Ashcroft hospital. It contained her bags, wallet and cash, and cell phone. Video surveillance shows Duguay walking away from her car alone.  She was last seen on Thursday night -- August 23rd --  at about  10:45 pm. Family and friends have not heard from Duguay and are hoping someone may have seen her.  The Vancouver resident was on her way to see a friend in Williams Lake.  She had no reason to stop in Ashcroft, and suffers from no known medical ailments that would have necessitated a stop at the hospital.  A search over the weekend yielded no trace of her.
       She's described as a Caucasian, 5' tall, 111 lbs, with black hair, brown eyes, and speaks French and English. She also has a tattoo of a tribal whale on her hip. If you have any information as to her whereabouts call the Ashcroft RCMP Detachment at (250) 453-2216.

Cassandra Wilson missing from Kamloops

RCMP say tips coming in - but still no suspect in missing sex trade worker case

Last Updated: Monday, August 27th, 2012

cassandra wilson

Tips are still coming in - but police are no closer to solving the disappearance of a known sex trade worker in Kamloops.   Cassandra Wilson disappeared April 6th.  She left her home at the Henry Leland House downtown, and video surveillance earlier in the night shows her outside the 7-eleven store on Seymour Street.  RCMP believe the 41-year old was met with foul play.  She left home without her medication, and hasn't accessed her bank account since the night she went missing.   Wilson has not contacted her family or friends since the night she vanished.  So far - there's nothing to point to where wilson might be.  Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact their local police immediately.

Reposted: The heavy hand of the RCMP–your tax dollars hard at work–by Cameron Ward

The heavy hand of the RCMP – your tax dollars hard at work

August 25, 2012 in News, Opinion

Last Saturday evening seven RCMP members attended a Lower Mainland residence to execute a search warrant in furtherance of an investigation of an allegation of defamatory libel contrary to s. 298.1 of the Criminal Code.  We have been informed that the RCMP members repeatedly mentioned the name “Cameron Ward” before removing the resident’s computers, phones and other electronic equipment.  What was this all about?  Apparently the RCMP is apoplectic about Ian Mulgrew’s newspaper column outing RCMP Cpl. Jim Brown as a self-proclaimed sexual sadist.  We have blogged about this because Brown is not just an ordinary member who is entitled to act like an idiot in his personal life-he is the handler of Ross Caldwell, an informant who approached Brown in mid-July of 1999 with allegations that Robert “Willy” Pickton was involved in one or more of the missing women’s murders.  Our blog post resulted in a formal letter dated August 8, 2012 from Bryan Baynham, Q.C. (the same Bryan Baynham who acted as pro bono “Independent Commission Counsel” prior to Robyn Gervais’ departure from the hearings) demanding that we remove the blog post by August 10, 2012 because, according to Mr. Baynham, it contains “false and defamatory” statements about his client Cpl. Jim Brown.  We have declined, as we do not consider the posting to be at all defamatory.

We tried in vain to have both Caldwell and Brown testify at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.  We were also unable to persuade the Commission to hear from witnesses who could testify about the depraved parties at Piggy’s Palace, the Pickton brothers’ after hours establishment around the corner from the site where the remains of dozens of women were found.  The most notable of these prospective witnesses was Beverly “Puff” Hyacinthe, a long serving civilian employee of the Coquitlam RCMP detachment who was friends with the Picktons and attended their parties, reportedly seeing one of the missing women there.  According to Stevie Cameron’s book On the Farm, the notorious parties were also attended by gang members, off duty police officers and city officials.  

We have apparently drawn the ire of the RCMP for suggesting that there could be a link between Cpl. Jim Brown and the Piggy’s Palace parties, and for suggesting that members of the Coquitlam RCMP knew a lot more about the Picktons’ pre-2002 activities than they have let on.  As counsel for the families of the murdered women, we tried our best to get the evidence out about these matters, but we were repeatedly stonewalled.

So, what’s going on here?  Tax dollars are being spent on a big firm lawyer, the preparation of a search warrant and a seven member raid on a private residence…why is the RCMP going to such lengths? 


Here’s radio station CKNW’s take on the latest incident:

“The RCMP have executed a search warrant at the home of someone connected to a blog criticizing the force.

The Re-Sergeance Alliance blog went up earlier this month, calling for change within the RCMP.

Over the weekend, someone involved with the blog’s writers had his home searched, and computers seized. The person wishes the remain anonymous.

But in an email to CKNW, the RCMP denies the blog was any reason for the raid.

Sgt. Rob Vermeulen says the warrant, for “defamatory libel,” was for a separate criminal investigation, and the Re-Sergeance connection was merely coincidence.

Vermeulen says the RCMP is currently assessing the information obtained in the search, and that will dictate the next step.

Police psychologist Dr. Mike Webster, known for also critizing the RCMP, says he’s also been contacted by a person targeted in a raid.

Dr. Mike Webster says that person insists it’s all about the blog.

“He mentioned to me he was directly accused of being part of the Re-Sergeance Alliance, which he’s really not.”

Webster says that person only helped the group get its blog online.

The executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, meanwhile, says the raids and RCMP comment raise serious questions.

David Eby says something doesn’t line up.

“Usually if someone’s been defamed by someone else, they go to court and they sue them for defamation. They don’t get the police involved executing search warrants, seizing computers and so on, because police powers are reserved for serious criminal matters.”"

posted by Cameron Ward

Thursday, August 23

RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson got a free pass from missing women's inquiry, say lawyers

Publish Date: August 23, 2012

His name stands out among witnesses who weren’t called by the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

At the time when police forces were fumbling the hunt for the person preying on women working Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside strolls, he was the noncommissioned officer in charge of the RCMP’s southwest district major-crime section.

Then a sergeant, Bob Paulson is now the RCMP commissioner, and lawyers representing the families of these women wanted him on the witness stand. But the commission chaired by former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal refused to summon Canada’s top Mountie.

In their final submission to the commission, lawyers Cameron Ward and Neil Chantler and researcher Robin Whitehead argue that the inquiry is incomplete because witnesses like Paulson weren’t summoned.

According to their filing, Paulson was “extensively involved in the missing women’s investigations”.

“His name appears hundreds of times in the documents disclosed to the Commission,” the submission states.

It also notes that in March 2000, then-sergeant Paulson and a staff sergeant approached then–chief superintendent Gary Bass of the RCMP’s E Division in B.C. “with a proposal to create a coordinated effort to review” unsolved homicides and the cases of the missing women. This was mentioned in a report for the Oppal commission by Deputy Chief Jennifer Evans of the Peel Regional Police.

Evans noted that the staff sergeant wrote a proposal that read in part that “at least 3 (three) serial killers are believed to be operating in BC at this time”.

It took almost a year before a so-called “Joint Forces Operation” was launched in connection with investigating the disappearances of the missing women.

In a phone interview with the Georgia Straight on August 22, Chantler indicated that lawyers for the families hoped to ask Paulson about this March 2000 meeting.

“We would have wanted to probe the circumstances and find out exactly what they exactly said and what discussions were had, and why efforts weren’t taken to form a JFO earlier in those circumstances,” Chantler said.

Robert Pickton, a pig farmer from Port Coquitlam, was eventually arrested in 2002. He was convicted in 2007 for the deaths of six women whose remains were found on the farm. The Crown eventually stayed charges against him for the deaths of 20 other women.

Paulson was sergeant in charge of the RCMP’s southwest district major-crime section from 1999 to 2001. B.C.’s southwest region includes the Lower Mainland. Paulson’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment before deadline.

The final submission by the families’ lawyers also identified 16 other witnesses who were not called by the commission.

One of these is David Pickton, who lived with his brother Robert and was “well known to police” for being associated with the Hells Angels. According to the submission, the Picktons’ properties in Port Coquitlam were “known by the police to be hives of illegal activity, including cockfighting, illicit alcohol and drug use, prostitution and petty theft”.

The document states that “despite the RCMP’s frequent attendances there, possibly as many as 49 murders were perpetrated”.

Commission spokesperson Ruth Atherley told the Straight by phone that Oppal cannot comment because he’s preparing his report.

In their final submission, the lawyers for the families also note that there are “many theories” about why Pickton wasn’t stopped early on. One is in connection with the police investigation of the Hells Angels, whose members frequented the Picktons’ Piggy Palace booze can.

According to the lawyers, this could have “in some way played a role in the police departments’ failure to intervene in Robert Pickton’s activities”.

They also raise the possibility that “police knew more about the Picktons than they were willing to disclose publicly.”

As well, the lawyers state, “many believe…that Robert Pickton did not act alone.”

Source URL:

Missing Women report calls for financial compensation for victims' children

The Independent Counsel's recommendations were mostly aimed at police and Crown reform


jason gratl

VANCOUVER -- Giving the children of Vancouver’s missing women financial compensation and decriminalizing sex work, heroin and cocaine are just some of 37 recommendations set out by a new Missing Women inquiry report from various Downtown Eastside groups.

The Independent Counsel recommendations detail a comprehensive list aimed at stopping another serial killer from preying on marginalized sex workers, but most were aimed at police and Crown reform.

“At the core of the difficulty is a set of police attitudes that are influenced by the unlawful status of sex work and drug use,” said the report’s author, lawyer Jason Gratl. “The police require some tools, at a policy level, to overcome the legislative requirement to treat our most unfortunate citizens as criminals and provide them with the protection from truly dangerous predators that they need.”

Gratl said the report, “Wouldn’t Piss On Them If They Were on Fire”: How Discrimination Against Sex Workers, Drug Users and Aboriginal Women Enabled a Serial Killer, offers a scathing critique of the social, legal and judicial framework he says allowed Robert Pickton to kill multiple women from the DTES.

The report is non-binding, and its stated mission is to “persuade [Commissioner Wally Oppal] to incorporate the perspectives and interests of the Downtown Eastside into his more comprehensive Inquiry Report.”

One of the strongest recommendations calls for training of senior police officials and an audit of both B.C. RCMP and Vancouver police attitudes toward DTES residents.

“It would appear, based on the evidence given by many of the police officers, that even today the VPD and RCMP have a blind spot for their own discriminatory attitudes and beliefs,” Gratl said. “An outside independent audit of police practices and procedures scrutinizing for discriminatory conduct and policies is absolutely necessary to overcome this blind spot.

“The evidence revealed that sex workers and drug users are afraid to approach police because they fear persecution and arrest, even if they’re victims of serious physical or sexual crimes.”

When investigating the missing women, police rarely interviewed victims’ friends or family because of their discriminatory belief that the sex workers didn’t have friends or neighbours, Gratl said.

Civilians should also be included in high levels of police management to break apart the “insular operational decision-making” that reinforces police interests, the report said.

It went on to say that police should grant vulnerable DTES residents immunity from outstanding warrants in order to coax them to come forward and report crimes of physical or sexual violence.

The report also recommends the B.C. Ministry of Justice look at creating a provincial or national serial killer unit.

Other recommendations include increasing the supply of social housing and detoxication centres, as the report argues poor availability of drug treatment is linked to increased levels of violence against sex workers.

The Independent Counsel was appointed by Oppal on Aug. 15, 2011, after then attorney-general Barry Penner refused the Inquiry Commissioner’s recommendation to pay for lawyers to represent four different groups from the Downtown Eastside. These included sex workers, drug users, and aboriginals.

Oppal will take this report into consideration along with submissions from a variety of individuals and groups before tabling his final report by Oct. 31 of this year.

Independent Counsel Report to Commissioner of Inquiry August 16, 2012

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, August 21

Scarborough mother of 3 is victim in body parts case: Peel police

Vidya Kauri and Megan O'Toole | Aug 21, 2012 12:42 PM ET | Last Updated: Aug 21, 2012 3:33 PM ET

Tyler Anderson / National Post

Tyler Anderson / National PostPolice work at the scene where body parts were found near a creek near Kennedy Rd. and Bonis Ave. in Scarborough, Ontario, on Monday, August 20, 2012.

The victim of a gruesome killing and dismemberment was a 41-year-old single mother of three who owned and operated a controversial Scarborough spa, Peel police confirmed Tuesday.

Investigators found some of Guang Hua Liu’s remains — including a foot, a head, two hands, an arm, a thigh and two calves — scattered throughout a Mississauga park and a Scarborough creek last week.

Handout / Toronto Police Service

Guang Hua Liu, 41.

“We have not as yet determined cause of death, but we are treating this as a homicide investigation given the nature of what we’ve uncovered thus far,” Insp. George Koekkoek told reporters from the parking lot of a Peel police facility in Mississauga. Many pieces of Ms. Liu’s dismembered body remained “outstanding” as of Tuesday, he said, even as Peel and Toronto police wrapped up searches of the park and creek.

Friends last saw Ms. Liu on Aug. 10 after dropping her off at her workplace, the now-defunct Forget-Me-Not spa on Eglinton Avenue in Scarborough. Friends reported her missing a day later.

While the Forget-Me-Not spa was licensed in May, the city said it received and investigated complaints from residents who believed the business was illegitimate. The sole owner and president, Ms. Liu was a licensed holistic practitioner and body rubber.

Police have executed a number of search warrants “in relation to identifying the victim,” Insp. Koekkoek said, but he would not confirm reports that investigators had searched a room at the Scarborough Inn, located just a 10-minute drive from Ms. Liu’s spa.

Investigators have not released any information on possible suspects.

“The investigation is wide open,” Insp. Koekkoek said, noting public safety was not at risk. “We have no reason to believe that this is anything other than an isolated case.”


A Canadian citizen of Chinese descent, Ms. Liu, who lived in the area of Huntingwood Drive and Kennedy Road, had two younger children and one adult child. Insp. Koekkoek said the younger children are currently staying with their father.

The case began making headlines Aug. 15, when hikers found a partially submerged foot with yellow nail polish by the banks of the Credit River in Mississauga’s Hewick Meadows Park. Police began scouring the river for evidence, and later found a human head and two hands.

On the weekend, Toronto police found a thigh, an arm and two calves in Scarborough’s West Highland Creek.


Wednesday, August 15 11:30 a.m. — Hikers in the Hewick Meadows Park near Eglinton Avenue and Mississauga Road find a partially submerged foot by the shore of the Credit River. The river flows through the park in Mississauga.

Thursday, August 16 10:15 a.m. — Peel Regional Police confirm the foot is a human right foot, possibly a woman’s because it has bright yellow nail polish on the toes. Police officers and cadaver dogs begin searching the river all the way south to Lake Ontario for more body parts and evidence.

Thursday, August 16, 12:15 p.m. — The police dive team finds a human head a kilometre north from where foot was found.

Friday, August 17, 1 p.m. — Police find a left hand and a right hand within a short time of each other. One was close to where the foot was found. The other was much farther south.

Saturday, August 18, 1:30 p.m. — Toronto police received a call to attend West Highland Creek near Sheppard Avenue East and Kennedy Road. A citizen had found what appeared to be a body part. Toronto police contact a coroner and the Peel police to advise them of their find.

Sunday, August 19, 1:30 p.m. — Toronto police got another call about another possible body part discovery in the creek.

Monday, August 20, 10:30 a.m. — Peel police confirm that the body parts discovered in the West Highland Creek over the weekend are human. They identify them as an arm, thigh and two calves. Police say they have narrowed down and isolated who the victim is based on missing persons reports. The marine team and dive team are called off the search in the Credit River, but officers on foot continue to look for evidence upstream to the Streetsville area.

National Post

Wednesday, August 15

Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Final Submissions

Made on behalf of the Families of Dianne Rock, Georgina Papin,
Marnie Frey, Cynthia Dawn Feliks, Cara Ellis, Mona Wilson,
Helen May Hallmark, Dawn Crey, Angela Hazel Williams,
Jacqueline Murdock, Brenda Wolfe, Andrea Joesbury, Elsie Sebastian,
Heather Bottomley, Andrea Borhaven, Tiffany Drew, Angela Jardine,
Stephanie Lane, Tanya Holyk, Olivia Williams, Debra Jones,
Janet Henry, Marie Lorna Laliberte, Sereena Abotsway,
Dianne Melnick, and Marcella Creison

This 25th day of June, 2012

Cameron Ward
Neil Chantler
Robin Whitehead

Tuesday, August 14

Missing women inquiry defended

Re: Cost Of Missing Women Inquiry Criticized, Aug. 10.
Two key pieces of information are missing from Brian Hutchinson’s story about the costs of the  Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. It is important to acknowledge the significance of the commission’s work and the fact that the commission is independent from government.
The B.C. government initiated this independent commission to examine the facts around the missing and murdered women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The commission’s recommendations will be an essential part of bringing closure to the families of those women and will guide future activities to help ensure a situation like this never happens again.
Once the government establishes an independent commission to inquire into a matter of public importance and sets the rate for the commissioner, its operations and finances are within the control of the commission. The commission determines its own operational needs and budget, including rates of pay and contract terms for staff.
It is vital that the work of the commission be done independently and that government ensure the commission has the necessary funding to do its work. We look to the commission to be conscious of the use of public funds and to adhere to government procurement policies.
Shirley Bond, B.C. minister of justice and attorney general, Victoria.

Missing Women inquiry workers paid more than B.C.’s longest-serving judges

Brian Hutchinson | Aug 10, 2012 1:58 AM ET
More from Brian Hutchinson

Glenn Baglo / Postmedia News files

Glenn Baglo / Postmedia News filesSenior commission counsel Art Vertlieb has charged B.C. $1,196,250 for his work at the Braidwood and Oppal inquiries.

VANCOUVER — Public hearings ended months ago but work continues behind the scenes at the controversial Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, where lawyers and other handpicked staff members continue to bill B.C. taxpayers at rates that former inquiry participants claim are “outrageous” and “out of control.”

The province’s latest public accounts record reveals that senior inquiry workers including commissioner Wally Oppal commanded more pay in the last fiscal year than B.C.’s most highly compensated public servants, including its longest-serving judges, provincial cabinet ministers and their deputies, and all but a handful of top Crown corporation executives.


Senior commission counsel Art Vertlieb topped the list, charging the province $483,741 for inquiry work performed in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. Associate counsel Karey Brooks and her Vancouver-based law firm billed taxpayers $482,139 over the same period. Mr. Oppal, meanwhile, charged $324,267, according to the public accounts.

Jessica McKeachie, a first-year lawyer whom Mr. Oppal hired to conduct research, billed the province $203,134. Another young inquiry lawyer with three years’ experience charged taxpayers $236,606 for her work.

Inquiry executive director John Boddie, a former Vancouver Police Department (VPD) sergeant who handles office administration duties for the commission, billed the province $299,807. That’s twice the amount billed over 12 months by the executive director at the recently concluded Braidwood Commissions of Inquiry, called to examine the use of Tasers by B.C. police forces and the 2007 death of Polish traveller Robert Dziekanski.

Ultimately, the small staff of the Commission worked very long hours, most weekends and holidays

Mr. Boddie’s renumeration was close to VPD chief constable Jim Chu’s annual paypacket, and exceeded almost all provincial bureaucrat salaries. Only John Dyble, deputy minister to B.C. premier Christy Clark and head of the province’s entire public service, was paid more.

For reasons that no one has explained, Mr. Boddie billed the province via his wife’s company, Paula Boddie & Associates.

In contrast, the lawyer who represented the families of 25 murdered and missing women at the inquiry billed the province $60,000 for work in the same fiscal year. Another Vancouver-based lawyer, Jason Gratl, billed $143,100 for his work at the inquiry; he represented local community interests. The amount covered his own fees and expenses, plus the services of an assistant and an articling student, he explained. Unlike inquiry lawyers and staff, who billed by the hour, Mr. Gratl was paid a flat monthly fee. “It worked out to something like legal aid rates,” he added.

One lawyer who played a key role at the inquiry called the amounts charged by inquiry staff “outrageous.” And a lawyer who worked for the inquiry and was familiar with its internal accounting practices said there did not appear to be any “checks and balances…it seemed out of control.” Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

In a written statement, Mr. Vertlieb noted that rates of pay “were discounted from normal market rates and agreed to by the government. We have always been very conscious of the fact that this important Commission is funded by the public. Ultimately, the small staff of the Commission worked very long hours, most weekends and holidays.”

The Braidwood inquiries — one examined police use of Tasers in general, a second the Dziekanski Taser death — cost taxpayers an estimated $4.5-million in total. Mr. Oppal’s inquiry has already cost the province $7.85-million, according to B.C. attorney general Shirley Bond, and the meter is still running. Some inquiry staff — including Mr. Oppal, Mr. Vertlieb and Mr. Boddie — remain on the job and continue to bill for their services. Mr. Oppal has until Oct. 31 to deliver his final report to B.C.’s attorney general.

The inquiry was formed in September, 2010, with a mandate to examine why the VPD and the RCMP failed to apprehend serial killer Robert Pickton prior to 2002, by which time he had allegedly murdered at least 26 women. Pickton was convicted on six counts of second degree murder in 2007; 20 other murder charges were later stayed.

We have always been very conscious of the fact that this important Commission is funded by the public

Seven community forums were held in September, 2011. Evidentiary hearings began in October and ended in June amidst controversy and anger; families of Pickton’s victims said the inquiry didn’t probe deeply enough into police conduct.

Mr. Oppal was a controversial choice for inquiry commissioner. A former B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge, he turned to provincial politics and was elected to represent a Vancouver riding in 2005. He served as the province’s attorney general during the Pickton trial. Mr. Oppal was not re-elected in the 2009 provincial election.

Mr. Vertlieb, his chief counsel at the inquiry, is an experienced Vancouver litigator and is currently vice-president of the B.C. Law Society, the body that governs the legal profession in the province. Mr. Vertlieb also served as senior counsel at the Braidwood inquiries, where his billings never exceeded $271,000 per fiscal year.

To date, Mr. Vertlieb has charged the province a total of $1,222,250 for his work at the Braidwood and Oppal inquiries.

During an interview conducted in March, Mr. Boddie told the National Post that he “takes no holidays” from the inquiry, even during scheduled breaks. He had just returned from a week-long trip to Arizona, where he said he spent his time reading inquiry documents.

National Post