Vancouver police investigating ‘a number’ of assault allegations involving fake nurse, court hears

Investigators are looking into “a number of potential assault charges” involving a woman accused of posing as a nurse for a year while assisting with surgeries at B.C. Women’s Hospital, a Vancouver courtroom heard Wednesday morning.

The revelation came from Crown prosecutor Kathryn Ford during a bail hearing in Vancouver provincial court, where a judge agreed to keep Brigitte Cleroux in custody while that investigation unfolds. 

Ford told the court that police are currently gathering evidence related to the assault allegations, and she will be speaking with the lead investigator in mid-January for an update.

Cleroux appeared by phone from an Ottawa jail, where she recently marked her 50th birthday. She currently faces two charges in Vancouver — fraud over $5,000 and personation to gain advantage.

Vancouver police say she posed as a perioperative nurse at B.C. Women’s Hospital from June 2020 to June 2021.

She also faces charges in Ottawa including assault and criminal negligence based on similar allegations related to her time working at a fertility clinic in the nation’s capital.

Cleroux’s Ontario-based defence lawyer, Ron Guertin, told Wednesday’s hearing in Vancouver that his client plans to plead guilty to some of the Ottawa charges later this month. Guertin also said there are discussions about transferring the Vancouver charges to an Ottawa court, where they could be considered if and when Cleroux is sentenced there.

But Ford, the Crown lawyer, pushed back against that proposal, telling the court that, “There is quite a significant public interest in keeping things here.”

Accused also worked as a nurse at Victoria clinic

Cleroux has a long history of convictions for posing as a nurse in multiple provinces, including Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. She has never been licensed as a nurse and only completed two years of nursing school.

As reported in December, she was also employed as a nurse at Victoria’s View Royal Surgical Clinic for three weeks in November 2020. However, no charges have been laid in connection with her time there and local RCMP will not comment on whether an investigation is underway.

Vancouver police have said that Cleroux used the name of a real nurse to gain employment here, but investigators and the Provincial Health Services Authority have declined to say how the alleged fraud was discovered.

Patients at B.C. Women’s Hospital who’ve spoken about their experience have largely described her as unprofessional and rude, and they have questions about whether complications they experienced during gynecological surgeries are linked to her presence in the operating room.

Cleroux’s next appearance in Vancouver provincial court is scheduled for Feb. 9.

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