Vancouver officer found guilty of corrupt practice

Officer improperly disclosed information related to Oak Bay homicide investigation

A Vancouver police officer has been found to have engaged in improper conduct in relation to an Oak Bay homicide investigation.

Const. Stephen Todd was found guilty of corrupt practice and improper disclosure of information in connection with the investigation into the Dec. 11, 2001 death of Owen Padmore in Oak Bay.

“As an experienced police officer he clearly knew that his conduct in accessing the computer database was improper,” said adjudicator Wally Oppal in his findings for the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. He also found that Todd had disclosed information to his cousin, Rob Ander, who was a suspect in the homicide investigation.

“The fact that he accessed a database on three different occasions, confirms my view that he wilfully disclosed the information to his cousin.”

The charges stem from the death of Owen Padmore, who died under somewhat mysterious circumstances from a head injury suffered in a residence that was occupied by his mother Jeanne Padmore, his sister Christabel Padmore and Ander.

Jeanne Padmore testified that she had been awakened by a thump and went downstairs to discover her son in an apparent dazed condition with a head wound. He was taken to the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria where he died after being in a coma for 36 hours.

The death was originally ruled as a result of an accidental fall and the file remained closed until 2008 when a friend of Padmore contacted RCMP to say there had been animosity between Ander and Padmore. As a result of the new information, Oak Bay Police reopened the investigation, obtaining authorization to intercept private communication for Ander as well as Christabel and Jeanne Padmore.

By 2010 the police investigation began to focus on Todd, who was brought in for questioning. Todd told police that Ander admitted his involvement in Padmore’s death. However, Todd later told his representative with the Vancouver Police Union that he made up the confessions because he was under immense emotional pressure.

“There were of course, a number of blatant untruths that were conveyed to Todd,” said Oppal, who pointed to a false report to Crown counsel as well as a fabricated letter under a Deputy Attorney General letterhead.

“At times the conduct of the police was flagrant,” said Oppal in his decision.

“It is well recognized that deception by the police in the investigation of crimes is often acceptable. In this case, however, the actions of the police were well beyond the pale.”

Oppal said he could not determine if Ander committed the assault which caused Padmore’s death, and as a result found Todd not guilty of the more serious charges of deceit, discreditable conduct and neglect of duty.