News

Undercover cop used in Maple Ridge assault case

Kayla Steinhauser, 19, step daughter of Delane Parent cries as a photo of her step dad is shown to the media by Andre Parent, Delane
Kayla Steinhauser, 19, step daughter of Delane Parent cries as a photo of her step dad is shown to the media by Andre Parent, Delane's brother, during a press conference in 2010, flanked by Delane's son Kyle, 14 and his ex-wife Christina.
— image credit: The New/Files

An undercover officer helped police gather crucial evidence in a case against a bouncer accused of an assault at a Maple Ridge bar that left a father permanently brain damaged.

Details of the operation that targeted Joseph Robert Calla were revealed this week in an application by RCMP for a publication ban.

Mounties want to make sure the identity of the police officer, who was planted in a jail cell with Calla, is not revealed.

"Undercover operations are by their very nature extremely dangerous," Staff Sgt. Kevin Mann, the officer-in-charge of E-division's undercover unit, said in an affidavit filed in court.

"If an undercover operation is exposed or suspected, the undercover operators are at risk of serious harm or death."

The Mountie in question belongs to a pool of specially trained officers who typically work undercover for their entire careers and may work on multiple operations at the same time.

Should any information about the identity of the officer be revealed, Mann added, his safety would be compromised.

In Calla's case, the officer used his real first name as a pseudonym. In the affidavit, Mann said, the officer is currently involved in an ongoing murder investigation that began June 8 and is expected to last several more weeks.

He added the purpose of the covert operation against Calla was to create an atmosphere in which he would "voluntarily divulge" information about his role in the assault.

A trial for Calla on one count of aggravated assault is set to begin in New Westminster Supreme Court on Oct. 22.

Calla was charged with assault following a fight that took place outside the Wolf Bar, at 22336 Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge, around 2 a.m. on June 13, 2010.

Police said Delane Parent was examined at the scene by paramedics after the alleged fight, and was able to drive himself home as the injuries did not appear to be serious.

But two days later, on June 15, he was discovered lying semi-conscious in his living room by his brother André Parent, who was called by his brother's co-workers when Del didn't show up for work.

Doctors believe Del's injuries were caused by a blow to the head or neck.

André Parent said Del remains in a long-term care facility, but has lost everything, including his home.

"He is progressing slowly," said Parent.

"He can walk but he still can't talk."

Calla, who worked as a bouncer at the Wolf, was one of two employees charged in connection with the assault.

The second employee - David Garnet Andrew Hecker - no longer faces charges.

The owner of the Wolf Bar, Chris Fairfax, has previously claimed Del was the aggressor.

In 2010, Fairfax said Del and a friend came into the bar just as it was closing and asked to be sold alcohol.

They seemed drunk, were told to leave by bar staff, and complied. But Del began fighting with a customer as he walked out of the bar, said Fairfax.

That's when a doorman intervened, he added, and both he and Del went to the floor.

Fairfax said Del hit his head on a curb.

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