New West police officer Klassen apologizes to assault victim

A New Westminster police officer broke down in tears Tuesday at a sentencing hearing for his assault of a newspaper delivery man two years ago in downtown Vancouver.

Const. Jeffrey Klassen apologized to the victim, Firoz Khan, for attacking and beating him outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel while drunk and off-duty on Jan. 21, 2009.

"I sincerely apologize and I know that I was wrong," he tearfully told the court. "I swore an oath to protect the civilians of British Columbia. That night I failed you."

The apology moved Khan to tears as well, who later told reporters he accepts the apology and hopes for a fair sentence.

Crown lawyers are seeking a 30 to 60 day jail sentence while the lawyer for Klassen asked for a conditional discharge.

After hearing arguments from both sides, provincial court Judge Jody Werier reserved her decision for a later date.

In the early morning hours on the day of the assault, Klassen and two other off-duty police officers — West Vancouver police Const. Griffin Gillan and Delta police Const. Blair Tanino — had been drinking all evening and barhopping.

Khan was just beginning his workday outside of the Hyatt Regency Hotel when he stopped to ask Gillan for directions. Gillan assaulted him, and then called Klassen and Tanino for help, who were en route in a cab. When they arrived, Klassen attacked Khan, believing him to be the instigator.

Khan suffered injuries significant enough that he has been unable to return to work.

Gillan pled guilty to assault and was conditionally discharged in July 2009.



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