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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Prosecutors look over charge assessment report on Dziekanski death

June 17, 2008
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — B.C. Crown prosecutors are looking over a police report that will help them determine whether charges should be laid in the death of a man hit with a police Taser at Vancouver airport.

Robert Dziekanski died minutes after being shocked by the RCMP Taser at Vancouver International Airport last October. Police have the option in a charge-assessment report to recommend criminal charges.

But Cpl. Dale Carr, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team that reviewed the incident, said they left the decision of whether to charge any of the four officers involved up to the Crown.

"In this particular case, as happens quite frequently, I-HIT didn't make a request for specific charges," Carr said. "We simply forwarded the facts and the evidence to Crown counsel for them to review and determine if there should be charges."

The homicide team includes investigators from the RCMP and various municipal police detachments in the province.

Crown spokesman Stan Lowe said Tuesday that prosecutors have had the charge-assessment report for about a month. He said the lack of a charge recommendation from police isn't unusual. More often than not, there is no recommendation. Police will often say in their report what area of the law they investigated, he said. "But it's unusual for them to say, you know, we recommend this person be charged. It doesn't come to that," Lowe said.

Carr said the team still has to supply a second report into what he said is a "very large and complex investigation." The supplemental report with translated transcripts, external reports and other follow up details will be handed in to Crown soon, he said.

The homicide team's investigation is one of several into the high-profile death, including a coroner's inquest and a B.C. public inquiry into Taser use.

Amateur video of Dziekanski's dying moments released after his death has been shown around the world on TV and the Internet. The video shows Richmond, B.C., RCMP officers confronting the confused and agitated man, and seconds later using the stun gun on him. Dziekanski died on the floor of the airport shortly afterwards, as officers kneeled on the still-struggling man.

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