Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2024

File: 20-25050

Victoria, B.C.

On January 19, 2024, we received information that criminal charges against the sole remaining accused in Project Juliet had been stayed.

This was an extremely complicated file, with many moving parts and a total of three investigations. The safety of the citizens and communities we serve is our top priority, and I can assure you that each decision in the course of these events was made in good faith, with the intention of reducing the impact of drug and organized crime activity on our streets.

Prior to the initial investigation into the activities of the accused, VicPD identified that one of our members, former police constable Robb Ferris, may have been involved in corrupt practice. VicPD immediately requested assistance from the RCMP Anti-Corruption Unit, which conducted an investigation into those allegations. This led to his arrest and suspension. This occurred simultaneously with a complex investigation into drug activity, and our officers attempted to minimize Cst. Ferris’s involvement while maintaining the integrity of the investigation into his activities.

Charges were not brought before the court, but 19 Police Act substantiations resulted in the dismissal of Mr. Ferris, though he resigned from VicPD before the dismissal was enacted.

Following Mr. Ferris’s suspension, VicPD officers re-set the investigation on the drug file, now named Project Juliet, and worked to ensure that there was no influence from Mr. Ferris. I am proud of my staff for their work in identifying the activities of this officer, and for their commendable effort to continue the investigation of serious crime despite the impact of Mr. Ferris on the department.

We are disappointed in the outcome of this file, which involved a significant amount of resources and dedication from our officers. It is clear that there were several points of failure in our processes. There were decisions that should have been made differently, and changes that can be made to the way we do our work, and I apologize for our contribution to this outcome.

We are still, and always, committed to the safety of our communities as our top priority. We will continue our work to address the problem of drug trafficking and organized crime in Victoria and Esquimalt, and will implement the lessons learned from this process to help ensure a more impactful outcome in the future.

Additional Information About Mr. Robb Ferris

In 2019, VicPD requested the assistance of the RCMP Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) after we became aware that a member may have been involved in breach of trust and corrupt practices. In June of 2020, former Cst. Edward Robb Ferris was arrested by ACU after an investigation that found actions inconsistent with his duties as a police officer. Specifically, that he was associating with and providing sensitive information to suspects of police investigations. Mr. Ferris was suspended with pay while the investigation continued.

When Mr. Ferris was arrested, VicPD notified the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner and requested an investigation subsequent to the ACU investigation.

At the conclusion of the OPCC investigation in 2021, a Discipline Authority under the Police Act determined that 19 counts of misconduct appeared to be substantiated, including 13 counts of improper Disclosure of Information, three counts of Deceit, two counts of Discreditable Conduct and one count of Neglect of Duty.