RCMP probe senior officer’s testimony

Staff sergeant’s claims could be perjury

Darah Hansen, Vancouver Sun, July 17, 2009

VANCOUVER — Police have launched an internal investigation into the conduct of a senior RCMP officer accused of perjury during a recent child-murder trial in Vancouver.

Staff Sgt. Ross Spenard, a blood-pattern analyst who also testified during the Robert Pickton murder trial, was exposed in June in B.C. Supreme Court as the author of a damning forensic report that was later found by other experts in the field to be “not scientifically sound.”

Spenard had initially claimed the flawed report had been written by another police officer, but acknowledged under cross-examination to misleading the court and failing to send a letter to the Crown in the case revealing concerns about the report and his errors.

The admissions provoked the ire of Justice John Truscott who, in his charge to the jury, called Spenard “the perfect example of a person who clearly lied under oath, and violated his oath to tell the truth.”

Back in court Friday, the same judge said he would not be pursuing contempt charges in the matter. Instead, he said it was the Crown’s job to determine whether legal action should be taken against the officer.

The Crown’s office had little to say about the case late Friday. Spokesman Neil MacKenzie said his office would be reviewing the judge’s comments, but added, “we wouldn’t be in a position to comment specifically on this case at this point.”

Spenard remains at work, but has been placed on administrative duty pending the results of the RCMP investigation into the matter, said Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, spokesman for RCMP “E” Division in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, the case that prompted the investigation will to return to court Aug. 28 when Charlie Rae Lincoln is expected to be sentenced.

Despite being told by the judge to completely ignore Spenard’s “tainted” evidence, a jury found the 23-year-old guilty of second-degree murder in the brutal stabbing death of her two-year-old child in 2007.

Crown has recommended Lincoln be sent to jail for 15 to 20 years for the crime, while her own lawyer asked the judge to consider a 10-year sentence.

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