A West Vancouver police officer accused in a bizarre attack on a newspaper deliveryman earlier this year plans to enter a guilty plea on a robbery charge Friday, his lawyer says.
The unexpected development is the latest twist in a case that saw officers for two different municipal police forces charged in the incident outside a downtown Vancouver hotel.
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“There’s going to be a guilty plea,” David Butcher, lawyer for Const. Griffin Gillan, said Thursday.
Butcher said the circumstances of the plea will become clear in a hearing set for provincial court Friday morning.
“There’s been an agreement about an appropriate resolution that is based on a rational and objective assessment of the facts rather than hysteria,” said Butcher, when asked whether a deal had been struck with the Crown.
Neil MacKenzie, a Crown spokesman, declined comment on the case Thursday, indicating he would prefer not to discuss the matter before Friday’s hearing.
The hearing revolves around events early on Jan. 21, when newspaper deliveryman Phil Khan was attacked.
Khan, a 47-year-old native of the Fiji Islands, claims he was also the subject of racial slurs during an unprovoked assault, which he said began when he was asked for directions by a lone man.
Khan has said he was robbed of $200 before passersby intervened.
Vancouver police ended up arresting three off-duty officers, who spent the night in jail before being released.
After an intense five-day investigation that Chief Jim Chu described as the focus of an “unprecedented level of attention, priority and urgency,” police recommended charges.
Gillan was charged with robbery, and Const. Jeffrey Klassen of the New Westminster police force was charged with assault. A charge of possession of stolen property, recommended by police, was not approved.
A third officer from the Delta police force was arrested, but not charged. Chu said there was evidence he may have tried to stop the assault.
The chief acknowledged Khan’s suggestions that racist comments were made against him, but noted that Khan could not specify who made them.
“As a result, we cannot recommend a charge against any individual, but instead leave it as a matter for the courts to take into consideration,” he told a news conference on the matter.
Gillan and Klassen have both been suspended without pay from their departments.