BY RATTAN MALL
FORMER solicitor general of B.C., Kash Heed, this week lashed out at the way RCMP reached deals with some of the killers in the Surrey Six Murders case, saying that the RCMP “seem to be a little freer with the taxpayers’ money on paying out these individuals for the crimes they committed more so than the city police.”
Heed noted: “It’s all around accountability. The city police are governed by the B.C. Police Act which brings back accountability straight to the police board. So if in fact you are going to look at some type of deal like this, there is some type of governance to cover that although police forces do not get involved in operational matters. But there is some governance based on policies and procedures in budgeting on this particular aspect of policing.”
He said that there are “several other examples in policing where the RCMP are not held to account the way municipal police departments are held to account.”
INNOCENT victims Chris Mohan, 22, a South Asian, and Edward J. Schellenberg, 55, of Abbotsford as well as four other victims who police say led criminal lifestyles – brothers Corey Jason Michael Lal, 21, and Michael Justin Lal, 26, and Edward (Eddie) Sousakhone Narong, 22, and Ryan Bartolomeo, 19 – were executed in typical gang-style fashion at Apartment 1505 of the Balmoral Towers at 9830 East Whalley Ring Road in Surrey on October 19, 2007.
Red Scorpion gangsters Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were each convicted of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder and received mandatory life sentences of 25 years with no parole eligibility in December 2014.
NOW Johnston’s lawyer, Brock Martland, has in a book exposed the deals that police reached with some of the killers. One of them, whose name is protected under a court order, was paid “substantially” and police “even purchased him a high-end Mercedes sedan.”
Two other killers had their sentences reduced to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder from first-degree murder; yet ironically, both had their testimony finally rejected by the judge.
Indeed, there appears to be a tendency among prosecutors to strike deals with killers.
Heed told me: “I’d heard when I was in policing that there were some undercover activities and some scenarios put together to try and get the evidence against the killers. I, in my 31 years of policing, would never have allowed individuals that were involved in crimes to the extent especially these two individuals were involved in crimes to be let off or … [be] given a reduction in sentencing or time spent in jail as a result of them cooperating with the police.”
He added: “The problem as I see it is law enforcement officer take shortcuts now. They don’t take the necessary investigative steps to try and solve a particular crime. And although this was a horrific crime, I feel that they took the direction which I would have never, ever approved in my time in policing.”
Heed pointed out the severity of the Surrey Six Murders case and added: “If you are involved in murders, if you are involved in gang activities that have blemished not only our community but certainly British Columbia based on your behaviour, certainly that is concerning and you need to be held accountable for that. So if all of a sudden if you have information that assists law enforcement, although there may be some leniency granted, it certainly does not preclude you from serving a substantial amount of time for the crime that you have committed.”
Heed also suggested that Crown counsel should do more on this front as he noted: “Now the relationship with police and Crown is not synonymous as you would think. Law enforcement still has a considerable amount of influence on Crown counsel and, in my opinion, here they were the ones that led this particular type of deal with these killers and Crown counsel just went along with it.”