Vancouver police officer coached his cousin in Oak Bay homicide probe, documents say

New details have emerged about how a Vancouver police officer, found guilty of corruption for interfering in an Oak Bay homicide case, allegedly helped his cousin, a suspect, dodge the investigation by providing sensitive police information.

Const. Stephen Todd was placed on administrative leave in 2011 after allegations arose that he lied during a homicide probe into the 2001 death of an Oak Bay man, Owen Padmore.

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Todd told homicide investigators that in July 2010, while on duty, he met with his cousin, a suspect in the homicide investigation.

The Vancouver officer checked the police database and revealed to his cousin information that investigators had found out about him.

“Const. Todd also admitted that in September 2010, approximately two months after his cousin made a confession to him, he provided information to his cousin on how to avoid police investigative techniques, including wire taps and surveillance,” according to documents released by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

When Todd, a 13-year veteran with Vancouver police, was told he was being investigated for professional misconduct, he recanted evidence that he had provided to homicide investigators.

Todd was the subject of a misconduct investigation, led by New Westminster Police Chief David Jones, which last month found Todd guilty of corrupt practice, deceit, neglect of duty, improper disclosure of information and discreditable conduct.

Jones recommended that Todd be fired.

Tood remains suspended without pay.

Todd has asked for a public hearing to fight the recommendation that he be dismissed.

The details about Todd’s involvement were released in the police complaint commissioner’s notice of public hearing.

Under the Police Act, any officer can request a public hearing if the discipline includes either dismissal or a reduction in rank, said deputy police complaint commissioner Rollie Woods.

“The commission here has absolutely no choice,” Woods said.

“He has the right to have this evidence reviewed by a retired judge.”

The public hearing could be lengthy and complicated because of numerous witnesses from Oak Bay police, Vancouver police and any witnesses Todd’s lawyer wants to call.

On Dec. 10, 2001, Padmore, 31, was visiting his mother’s house on Hampshire Road in Oak Bay.

He left the house and returned suffering from a head injury.

His mother called 911 and Padmore was taken to hospital, where he died the next day.

In March 2011, Oak Bay police arrested a 38-year-old Oak Bay man, reportedly a friend of the Padmore family, who faced charges of manslaughter. However, Crown prosecutors did not approve those charges.

Oak Bay Police Chief Mark Fisher said the homicide investigation remains open. When asked if Todd’s actions hampered the police investigation, he said, “Obviously it’s not helpful.”

“I think when the Vancouver police department became aware of it, they handled it appropriately and started a Police Act investigation.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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