by Kim Bolan, Special to the Langley Advance
As murder victim Nick Hannon was remembered at a funeral in Langley Friday, more details are emerging about the background of one of his accused killers.
Connor Angus Campbell, charged last month with first-degree murder along with Bradley Michael Flaherty and Keith William Tankard, is the son of a former Mountie and a current member of the RCMP.
His mother Catherine Galliford is suing the RCMP, the federal attorney general and the B.C. justice minister, alleging years of sexual harassment and abuse while she was on the force.
Galliford, once the RCMP spokeswoman for high-profile investigations like the Air India bombing and the Robert Pickton serial murder case, filed her lawsuit in 2012.
It is scheduled to go to trial in 2017.
The defendants in the case have denied her allegations.
Galliford spoke publicly about her situation in 2011, prompting hundreds of other women on the force to make their own declarations of sex discrimination and harassment on the job. There’s now a proposed class-action lawsuit.
Galliford’s former husband, Darren Campbell, is also a Mountie.
Galliford has not commented publicly since the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team announced the charges against her son and his two friends on Sept. 8.
Her lawyer did not return calls Friday.
But Darren Campbell told The Sun that he is absolutely devastated.
“It is an incredibly difficult time. All I can comment on is from the perspective of a father. I can’t comment on anything in terms of the investigation because I am not a part of it,” he said Friday. “It’s heartbreaking and it’s devastating and it’s devastating for every family involved. It’s a very, very sad and heartbreaking situation.”
Connor Campbell, 21, Flaherty and Tankard, both 20, will appear Monday, Oct. 5 in Surrey Provincial Court. Hannon, 19, was last seen by his little brother in the Walnut Grove area of Langley on Feb. 26, 2014.
His locked vehicle was found abandoned the next day near Derby Reach Regional Park. His frantic family put up missing persons posters and appealed to the public for help.
Police suspected foul play in the teen’s disappearance and IHIT took over the investigation in April 2014. His remains were found in a heavily wooded area in Mission after his friends were arrested. The remains were returned to his family this week, allowing for a funeral to finally be held.
“Now, he will respectfully be at peace,” said an obituary published this week in The Vancouver Sun. “Nick was a wonderful young man, with a dazzling smile and a sparkle in his eye. He excelled at sports, especially hockey, which was his favourite … He was a great brother, a loving uncle and our darling son. We miss him dearly.”
Despite the personal link between one accused and the RCMP, Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said Friday “in this case, the circumstances did not require appointment of a special prosecutor.”
“The criminal justice branch is aware of Mr. Campbell’s family circumstances,” MacKenzie said.
He said the criminal justice branch, which handles prosecutions, does not deal with civil suits against the government, like Galliford’s.
“In addition, the branch’s Crown Law Division will manage the prosecution, so as to avoid any possibility of an appearance of conflict based on prior working relationships between Mr. Campbell’s father and Crown Counsel in the Fraser Region,” MacKenzie said.
Special prosecutors are only appointed in “exceptional cases,” he said.
“In this case the branch concluded that the circumstances as a whole do not reasonably and objectively give rise to a significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice which would require appointment of a special prosecutor.”
– Kim Bolan is a Vancouver Sun reporter.
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