UPDATE: Vancouver police officer charged for interfering with Oak Bay case

Questions still linger in death of UVic student Owen Padmore

A 12-year-old Oak Bay homicide investigation may have been hampered by deceit and the corrupt practice of a Vancouver police officer.

The Vancouver Police Board is considering further sanctions against a 13-year member of the Vancouver Police Department following allegations of misconduct in the investigation of a death in Oak Bay.

Owen Padmore died from head injuries apparently sustained in a fall at his mother’s Oak Bay home 12 years ago. In 2008, Oak Bay police received new information on the case. In 2011, a suspect was arrested for manslaughter but no charges were laid.

Now, it has been revealed a Vancouver police officer who is under investigation for allegedly lying and interfering with the investigation, has a close relationship to the prime suspect in the case.

“The police officer from Vancouver is very closely tied in. The relationship is very close with the suspect,” said Oak Bay deputy chief Kent Thom.

The Vancouver Police Board is considering discontinuing the pay of the officer following allegations of misconduct under the Police Act. According to a Vancouver police media release, the officer lied to the homicide investigators, accessed restricted police databases and provided information to another person.

Vancouver police suspended the officer with pay in August 2011.

“That officer was interviewed by investigators in early March 2011, and provided information that had direct relevance to the initial grounds for arrest of the suspect in this matter,” said Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Mark Fisher in a statement. “One month later, in April 2011, this officer recanted portions of his earlier statement to police.”

Padmore was 31 when he died on Dec. 11, 2001. He had been visiting his mother’s house on Hampshire Road the day previous. At one point, he left the house and when he returned, he had suffered a head injury. His mother called an ambulance, but Padmore died later at Victoria General Hospital.

Initially, investigators suspected foul play, but a coroner’s report and witness statements at the time resulted in the death being classified as non-suspicious.

Details of the new information that led police to reopen the investigation have never been disclosed.

Three people were arrested resulting from the 2008 investigation. Two were released, but charges were recommended against the third, a man who was at the house where Padmore stayed the night before he died. The man had no criminal history, so was not held in police custody. Crown reviewed the file for months, but the manslaughter charge was not approved.

“The information we received from this police officer in Vancouver was relevant to the investigation – when it was recanted, the evidence was no longer there,” said Thom.

The Vancouver Police Board’s decision follows a two-year investigation into events brought to the attention of the Vancouver Police Department by an outside police agency in 2011. New Westminster Police Chief David Jones was assigned by the Office of the Police Complaints Commission to conduct an investigation.

As a result, the offending officer is now facing charges of two counts of deceit, one count of neglect of duty, one count of corrupt practice and one count of improper disclosure of information. The decision to suspend the officer without pay, or to continue the suspension with pay will be made by the Vancouver Police Board at an upcoming meeting.

Fisher said the Oak Bay police will not be commenting further on the disciplinary proceedings. The investigation into the death of Padmore remains open.

“We’re confident there’s more to this investigation and it hasn’t come to its proper conclusion at this point in time,” Thom said.

– with Oak Bay News files

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