Abbotsford News

Corrections officer convicted of sex assault wants job back

A hearing is taking place this week in Abbotsford to determine whether a former correctional officer who was convicted of sexual assault in 2008 and served jail time should be reinstated to his job.

The hearing for Balkar Singh Basra is being held from Dec. 11 to 14 by the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB).

Basra is being represented by the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers in fighting the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to be returned to his job.

Basra, 34, had been a prison guard at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford for seven years when he was charged with sexual assault in 2006. He was suspended indefinitely without pay at that time.

Basra went on trial in 2008, was convicted of the assault and was sentenced to two years less a day in prison.

Court documents indicate that he met a 21-year-old BCIT student on the Internet in 2004 while posing as a man named "Dion." On the second occasion that the two met in person, they went to a nightclub after having dinner and drinks with another couple at Basra's home in Surrey.

The victim testified that she awoke the next morning and was naked in Basra's bed, but had no memory of leaving the nightclub, arriving at his home or ending up in his bedroom.

When she confronted Basra later that day, he told her that they had sex. The woman then went to the hospital, and the subsequent medical report showed she was covered in bruises, including a bite mark, and there was other evidence to show she had been raped by Basra.

The judge convicted Basra, concluding that he had given the victim a date rape drug and had non-consensual sex with her.

Meanwhile, an adjudicator with the PSRLB ruled in 2006 that the CSC had erred in suspending Basra indefinitely without pay, because they had failed to contact him to obtain his side of the story.

The CSC maintained that Basra had breached their Standards of Professional Conduct during the police investigation because he had sex with the victim, lied to police about it, and was charged with sexual assault.

The discipline imposed was reasonable, given the evidence, the CSC argued.

The adjudicator ruled that Basra should not have been suspended without a proper investigation and he is entitled to back pay and full benefits for that period, but the CSC sought a judicial review.

The Federal Court of Appeal then ruled that a new hearing should take place, and the adjudicator upheld the original decision.

That decision covered only Basra's indefinite suspension without pay.

Basra was terminated from his position following his conviction, and this week's hearing will determine whether he should be allowed to return to his job.

 

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