The investigation into the 2001 Oak Bay death of Owen Padmore has had new light shed on it with the release of information related to the investigation.
In July, the Oak Bay News reported that a Vancouver Police officer was under investigation for allegedly lying and interfering with the investigation into Padmore’s death, which was initially ruled accidental.
On Sept. 10, the external discipline authority determined misconduct had been proven against the officer, Const. Stephen Todd, in relation to two counts of deceit, one count of neglect of duty, one count of corrupt practice and one count of improper disclosure of information. The authority proposed dismissal as one of the disciplinary measures.
Pursuant to the Police Act, a member may request a public hearing or review on the record where the disciplinary measure proposed is dismissal or a reduction in rank. Todd has now requested a public hearing into the matter.
In the notice of public hearing released by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, further details of Todd’s connection to the case were revealed. The information states that Todd was interviewed by Oak Bay Police as a witness in the homicide investigation in March 2011, and he “told investigators that in July 2010, while on duty, he met the suspect, his cousin, and they sat in a police car and had a discussion.” The complaint states Todd “advised he queried the suspect on police information systems and gave the results to his cousin.”
Todd also told investigators that his cousin allegedly “made admissions” which were relevant to the investigation.
The information received by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner also alleged “during his March 2011 interview, Todd also admitted that in September 2010, approximately two months after his cousin had made a confession to him, he provided information to his cousin on how to avoid police investigative techniques, including wire taps and surveillance.”
Police say, one month later Todd recanted the evidence he gave to homicide investigators.
Todd has not been charged with any criminal conduct.
Retired B.C. Court of Appeal judge Wally Oppal has been appointed as adjudicator for the hearing; a date has not yet been set.
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 he returned suffering from a head injury. His mother called an ambulance and Padmore was taken to Victoria General Hospital, where he later died.
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.
The investigation was reopened in early 2011. Details of the information that led police to reopen the investigation have never been disclosed, and the investigation remains open.