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Surrey Six Mountie’s misconduct involved boozy affair with a potential witness

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A primary RCMP officer assigned to the deadliest gangland shooting in B.C. history had a months-long, alcohol-fuelled sexual affair with a key potential witness in the case, spanning several provinces in hotel rooms paid for by the force.

Then-Sgt. Derek Brassington described it himself when he apologized during a sentencing hearing that revealed details of the relationship earlier this month.

« I treated her like a girlfriend, » the ex-officer said through sobs in B.C. Supreme Court.

Brassington admitted spending several dozen nights with her in hotel rooms paid for by the RCMP, getting drunk and having sex during the affair in 2009. Then 39, the ex-sergeant took the witness to bars and strip clubs during nights together.

He lied to hide their relationship from most colleagues, but told the court others were well aware after a while — and at least once, actively participated in the debauchery.

Brassington is one of three officers sentenced for their misconduct in the investigation this month. Two others admitted they knew about his affair and failed to report it during their own hearings on Wednesday.

The officers — Brassington, former Staff Sgt. David Attew and suspended Cpl. Danny Michaud — were charged with misconduct in 2011. They all pleaded guilty in separate hearings this month.

A body is loaded into a van following a multiple homicide in Surrey, B.C., on Oct. 21, 2007. Five people have been convicted in connection with the Surrey Six murders. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The details of the behaviour were a mystery for the better part of a decade, but details were revealed during their hearings. Those proceedings were initially protected by a publication ban, but portions of that ban were rescinded Wednesday afternoon after a challenge from CBC News and Global News.

The Surrey Six investigation continued and resulted in five murder convictions despite the officers’ conduct, but court heard the individual officers’ credibility as investigators was tarnished, and hours of police work needed to be redone.

During the hearings, the men also touched on what they were thinking at the time. Two said they weren’t thinking clearly at all, crippled by the punishing stress and trauma of their jobs as principal investigators on high-profile cases to a point beyond reason.

In short, as Brassington would tell the court through tears: « I sold my soul for this. »

Colossal investigation of 6 killings

Brassington, Attew and Michaud worked with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) — a speciality homicide unit made up of officers from the RCMP and municipal police.

They were working on the Surrey Six file, a colossal investigation launched after six men were shot to death at a Surrey highrise on Oct. 19, 2007.

Attew and Brassington were principal investigators assigned to witness management, with Attew as Brassington’s superior. Michaud worked in exhibits. 

Brassington pleaded guilty to breach of trust and compromising the integrity and safety of a witness involved in the mass-murder investigation on Jan. 18.

He did so, in short, by dating her for about six months.

Brassington speaks to journalists on Dec. 11, 2013. (CBC)

« I treated her like a girlfriend, » Brassington told the court through sobs after his sentencing. « I didn’t mean to fall in love with her. »

Brassington met the witness on June 6, 2009. She agreed to co-operate as a witness the next month.

Brassington, a brawny man described by colleagues as an « all-star » investigator, wrote a report explaining how crucial the witness would be to the investigation and was assigned to manage her in the witness protection program.

In order to keep the witnesses on board and keep them out of gang life, the Crown explained, it was necessary for RCMP officers to stay in touch as the civilians established themselves in their new, secret homes — which sometimes meant flying to visit them in pairs.

At first, Brassington would sneak the witness back to his hotel room after his partner went to bed during those trips. They’d spend the night together before he snuck back to his own room by morning, undetected.

Then they got bold, and the public outings to bars and strip clubs began. 

Brassington also admitted to sexual activity with a third witness on one occasion.

Officer’s relationship with suspect’s girlfriend

Brassington and Attew were also assigned to manage another witness, identified in court documents as Person X.

Person X had confessed to his girlfriend that he was involved in the Surrey Six shootings. She encouraged him to turn himself in to police, and they both were recruited to the witness protection program.

It was Attew’s job to ensure their continued co-operation, mainly by securing the girlfriend’s trust. 

RCMP officers search property on Oct. 24, 2007 surrounding the apartment building where six people were killed. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

In April 2009, Brassington and Attew visited Person X’s girlfriend at her new home. They got drunk at a bar and stayed until closing.

Later, Attew went to the girlfriend’s hotel room alone. They ended up kissing, with Attew touching her over her clothes, but she rejected him when he tried to go further.

Court heard Person X nearly turned on police after he found out what Attew had done, risking his role as another key witness. He would ultimately continue to co-operate with the investigation.

Once, Brassington and Attew took Brassington’s clandestine girlfriend to the bar where Person X’s girlfriend worked. They spent $800 on alcohol that night, with Brassington’s witness sitting on his lap in front of his superior officer.

Attew, whose marriage ended largely over the scandal, pleaded guilty to failing to maintain law and order in B.C., contrary to the RCMP Act, on Tuesday. He was sentenced to six months house arrest with conditions.

RCMP under enormous scrutiny

Another revelation from the sentencing hearings was that both Brassington and Attew were working on the Dziekanski investigation as well as the massive Surrey Six case.

Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant to Canada, died after he was Tasered by RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport on Oct. 14, 2007 — five days before the Surrey murders.

The Dziekanski investigation brought the force under enormous scrutiny, and Brassington told the court he saw the murder case as a chance at redemption.

« Instead of restoring public trust and faith in the RCMP, I killed it, » he told the court through sobs during an apology.

« I am sorry to everybody in this country that looks to the police to do what’s right. »

​Brassington’s affair only ended for good when someone told RCMP what was happening in the winter of 2009. He and his wife would later divorce, and he left the family home he shared with their children. 

« As a dad I shouldn’t have done this. As a father I shouldn’t have done this. As a cop I shouldn’t have done this, » Brassington told the court.

The force asked the Ontario Provincial Police to investigate in February 2010. Michaud, the third officer ultimately charged, pleaded guilty to lying when he was asked if he knew about the affair.

He was sentenced to three months house arrest on the same offence as Attew on Tuesday. 

Brassington was sentenced to two years less a day house arrest under conditions. 

Five people have been convicted in connection with the Surrey Six murders.

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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