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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Poland launches own inquiry into Dziekanski death

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Meagan Fitzpatrick , CanWest News Service

Authorities in Poland said Wednesday they are launching their own investigation into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport last month.

"The aim of the investigation is to verify whether (Canadian police) exceeded their authority and involuntarily caused the death of a Polish citizen," said Michal Szulczynski, spokesman for the regional prosecutor's office in the southwestern Polish city of Gliwice.

"The Polish criminal code allows for an investigation in cases which have taken place abroad but which involve a Polish citizen," he told AFP. "Foreign nationals can be prosecuted in such cases."


Polish authorities say for now they just want to get to the bottom of what happened, but they warned they won't rule out laying their own charges against Canadian citizens in the case. "For the moment it's a question of clarifying the circumstances and causes of Robert Dziekanski's death, but we can't rule out that in a later phase the investigation could lead to the indictment of Canadian officials," said Szulczynski.

There are already eight separate investigations underway to determine what went wrong and what contributed to Dziekanski's death:

1. The British Columbia government is conducting a full public inquiry;
2. Paul Kennedy, the public complaints commissioner for the RCMP, has launched an inquiry;
3. The RCMP has begun an internal review;
4. Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day's department released the findings of a Canada Border Service Agency internal investigation on Monday;
5. The homicide investigation team from the RCMP and municipal police departments in Metro Vancouver is conducting a probe;
6. The Vancouver International Airport Authority is conducting an internal review;
7. B.C.'s Coroners Service has scheduled an inquest for May 5-16, 2008; and
8. The House of Commons public safety committee announced on Thursday it will launch an investigation.

"We are not going to wait for the results of the Canadian investigation," said Szulczynski. Poland filed a diplomatic protest with Canada after Dziekanski's death, demanding Warsaw receive "full and transparent results of the (Canadian) investigation." Canada's ambassador to Poland, David Preston, has reassured Polish officials the Canadian probe will be "thorough and fair."

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