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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

RCMP public complaints commission chair to appear at inquiry into taser use

June 10, 2008
Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER - The chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is scheduled to make an appearance before the Braidwood inquiry in Vancouver later this month. Paul Kennedy plans to release his final report on the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (Tasers) on Thursday in Ottawa, including making recommendations for immediate implementation.

He is scheduled to explain his report and answer any questions June 25 at the Braidwood inquiry, which is probing the use of Tasers in B.C.

“We’re happy to appear after we submit our own report,” Nelson Kalil, communications manager for the RCMP public complaints commission, said today of Kennedy’s scheduled appearance.

The B.C. inquiry, headed by retired B.C. Court of appeal judge Thomas Braidwood, was ordered by Attorney General Wally Oppal after the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport last October.

Braidwood was appointed in February by Oppal to head two inquiries. The first is a “study” commission into the use, effectiveness and safety of conducted energy weapons in B.C. by law enforcement agencies other than the RCMP. The second phase will be a “hearing and study” commission to provide a complete record of the circumstances surrounding the death of Dziekanski.

The second inquiry will begin after the RCMP investigation is completed into the events that preceded Mr. Dziekanski’s death. The first phase held 14 days of public forums in Vancouver, which began May 5, and heard from 46 presenters and received 43 written submissions. Another day is scheduled for June 25 to accommodate people who requested an opportunity to address the commission.

The original deadline for the Braidwood commission’s report was June 30, but Oppal has given a five-month extension, until Nov. 30, to complete the work of the study commission, which received more submissions than originally anticipated and needed more time to review all the oral presentations and written material.

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