THE Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced on Monday that on April 5, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk appointed a special prosecutor in the Surrey case of child luring against Kuljinder Singh Bhatti, 35, of Burnaby.
Surrey RCMP announced on April 7 that they arrested one man after he allegedly tried to lure a minor for a sexual purpose, and for making an arrangement with a person for a sexual offence involving a person under the age of 18.
The CJB said that Greg DelBigio was appointed special prosecutor when it was advised that the Surrey RCMP had commenced an investigation into allegations of possible offences committed by a relative of an employee of the Criminal Justice Branch.
“Mr. Juk made the appointment under s. 7 of the Crown Counsel Act because he considered it in the public interest to do so. The appointment of a special prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice in light of the close personal relationship between the subject of the investigation and the Branch employee,” the CJB said in a statement.
DelBigio is a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice. He was initially given a mandate to provide legal advice to the RCMP investigators as may be necessary, conduct any related charge assessment, and assume conduct of the prosecution if charges were approved. On April 7, he ultimately approved a single charge of arranging by telecommunications to commit a sexual offence against Bhatti. Bhatti’s next appearances will be on May 4 in Surrey Provincial Court.
“Announcement of the appointment of the Special Prosecutor was initially postponed pending completion of the investigation and approval of charges. Following consultation with the Special Prosecutor, and taking into account the specific circumstances of the case, the Branch concluded that issuing a media statement announcing the appointment was appropriate at this time,” the statement said.
ON Monday, April 3, police received a complaint about child luring and an investigation was undertaken immediately by Surrey RCMP Special Victim’s Unit. Investigators arrested a suspect on Thursday, April 6.
Surrey RCMP said that allegations of assault involving Bhatti by a civilian during the incident are still under investigation.
Earlier last week, The VOICE had reported that Surrey Creep Catchers President Ryan Laforge was arrested on Monday evening for reportedly assaulting a man who was allegedly trying to solicit a six-year-old girl for sex.
In a video the group posted online, their vice president seems to pose as the girl’s mother. Laforge ends up pinning the man against a wall
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann said in a statement at the time: “On April 3 at 6:40 p.m., Surrey RCMP responded to a call for service in the 10100-block of King George Boulevard. Allegations from two parties included child luring and assault. Surrey RCMP attended scene and reviewed not only eye witness accounts but also video depicting some of the incident.
“As a result of the initial attendance and after identifying all those involved, one person was arrested and later released from custody. Police are currently investigating the allegations from both parties and will conduct a thorough investigation. As the investigation is ongoing, police are not in a position to discuss identity of the parties or details of the allegations at this point. The individual arrested was released on a promise to appear, and no charges have been laid.”
Schumann added: “As we have said previously, the Surrey RCMP does not support, condone, or recommend vigilantism. Vigilantism, no matter how well meaning, does not involve police, and therefore is void of ongoing safety considerations. Vigilantism is a risk to the safety of all those involved including victims, or potential victims, the alleged suspects, and / or the safety of those persons intent on broadcasting the suspected crime.
“We can confirm that Surrey RCMP was in contact with Mr. LaForge prior to this incident and an upcoming confrontation was discussed. However, no specifics were discussed, and any confrontation was discouraged by Surrey RCMP. Surrey RCMP advised, as we have in the past, that if there was any information and / or evidence available, that the matter needed to be reported, in order for it to be investigated by police.”