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Mounties didn't reveal informant's police history Add to ...

The RCMP officers responsible for Richard Young, a Victoria, B.C., police informant who murdered someone after entering the witness protection program, failed to disclose police "files of a sexual nature" on Mr. Young before he was approved for a new identity and relocation, an internal probe has revealed.

The investigation, which was launched last year after reports published by The Globe and Mail and Ottawa Citizen revealed that Mr. Young had been convicted of murder under his new RCMP-issued identity, was supposed to determine whether the Mounties could have predicted that Mr. Young would turn to murder once he entered the program.

The Mounties have refused to publicly reveal Mr. Young's new identity or the name of the person he killed - even the family members of Mr. Young's victim are forbidden from knowing the truth.

Although the authors of the report concluded there was "nothing" that should have alerted the Mounties to the eventual slaying, they noted areas where "communication and documentation was lacking" - such as Mr. Young's history with the police.

The 23-page report, which was written by RCMP Inspectors Joseph Loran and Kevin Mackey and publicly released as part of an ongoing review by the House of Commons public safety committee, shows that when Mr. Young first approached the Mounties in 2000 about becoming an informant, his police handler found some dark corners in Mr. Young's past.

The handler, Constable Paul Marleau, discovered in an RCMP database "files of a sexual nature" involving Mr. Young. They did not result in any charges, the report states.

One incident took place at a summer camp when Mr. Young was about 18, the investigators found. Another incident has been redacted from the internal report.

After discovering the incidents, Constable Marleau informed his superior. However, neither incident was noted on the forms that were filed in support of Mr. Young's admission to the witness protection program.

As part of the internal probe, the Mounties interviewed Constable Marleau about the incidents. The officer could only recall that one of the incidents "involved an inappropriate comment or maybe something with a shower," the report states.

"It is our opinion these incidents were not intentionally ignored by Constable Marleau or the investigative team," the internal RCMP report states. "Had this information been provided ... it would not likely have changed the outcome of the approvals, however, it may have allowed [Human Source Management Operations]to further explore this avenue during subsequent interviews."

The Mounties have not explained why one of the incidents was redacted from the report. But the finding of an alleged sexual offence is consistent with research by The Globe and the Citizen.

In interviews, three of Mr. Young's siblings told the newspapers that their older brother was once accused of molesting a boy he babysat, though they didn't know whether the accusation was ever investigated by the police. Mr. Young's associates also described his predilection for teenaged boys and young men - "He always had some foster kid around," said one Victoria associate. "He'd buy them pizza and take them to the arcade ... everyone thought it was a little weird."

When Mr. Young's story was exposed in both newspapers in March, 2007, it triggered the review of the witness protection program by the public safety committee.

The Mounties have been steadfast in their refusal to publicly disclose whom Mr. Young murdered, arguing before the committee that such a disclosure would cause a ripple effect and scare away potential informants who hold information on the criminal underworld. Under Canada's witness protection laws, it is an offence to knowingly disclose anything about a protected witness's new identity.

However, the committee has also heard from Gerald Shur, the founder of the U. S. witness protection program, who explained that such disclosures are routine in the United States. In that country, the federal government will compensate victims of a protected witness up to $25,000 and reveal the true identity of the offender.

The committee has also heard from Tom Bulmer, a Victoria defence lawyer who accused the Mounties of using Canada's witness protection law to hide from a wrongful-death lawsuit in the case of Mr. Young.

In an interview, Mr. Bulmer slammed the internal report and the conclusion that there was no way of knowing that Mr. Young would go on to kill.

"That's a conclusion that they just can't come to," he said. "What they're saying is that the communication broke down ... There's no way of telling what would have happened if all those things had come together."

Mr. Bulmer also said he was shocked that the report did not bother to explain why the Mounties kept Mr. Young in the program after Mr. Justice Dean Wilson of British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that his evidence was "a cruel charade."

In 2002, it emerged in court that, while Mr. Young was telling his police handlers that Asian gang members were conducting surveillance on the RCMP, he had also approached some Asian teenagers with a proposition. Mr. Young promised to pay the teens - in gas money and cigarettes - if they followed Mounties in their cars and visited Victoria's RCMP headquarters to write down the licence plate numbers of the cars in the parking lot.

The teens agreed and when their "surveillance" was observed by the Mounties, Mr. Young's credibility with his handlers increased dramatically.

But by the time Judge Wilson concluded that it was a lie, Mr. Young had been relocated and more than $100,000 of his debts had been paid by the Mounties.

Mr. Bulmer said the RCMP had an obligation to act once it realized it had been duped - something that might have prevented the murder.

"The conclusion fails to address the main point," Mr. Bulmer said. "Why did they bring him in and continue to put him in the witness protection program once ... it became clear that not only did he have no good evidence to give, but he manufactured what evidence that they had?"

******

FILES UNDER WRAPS

The federal Justice Department has refused to release a single one of the more than 10,000 pages it holds on controversial RCMP informant Richard Young, citing numerous exemptions under the Access to Information Act.

In April of 2007, The Globe and Mail filed an access to information request to the department for all materials related to Mr. Young, a paid informant who killed someone once he entered the witness protection program. At first, the department sent notice that it needed more than 200 days to assemble the documents and review what was able to be released.

However, just two weeks ago the department notified the newspaper that, despite identifying 10,604 pages of relevant information, it was releasing nothing. The department states that exemptions such as solicitor-client privilege, personal information and the safety of individuals prevents it from releasing any of the files.

Greg McArthur

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