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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Poland ponders questioning officers, Taser inquiry told

For now, the transcripts in question remain available HERE.

February 25, 2009
PETTI FONG, Western Canada Bureau Chief
Toronto Star

VANCOUVER–The lawyer for one of the RCMP officers scheduled to appear before the Taser inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski revealed this morning that the Polish government is considering questioning police for legal proceedings.

David Butcher, representing Const. Bill Bentley, filed a motion asking for restrictions on the official transcripts from the inquiry. Butcher did not go into details on whether the officers have received notice but hinted that there are proceedings under way.

Dziekanski, a Polish citizen, left his home in southern Poland in October 2007 to start a new life in Canada. At the Vancouver International Airport, he was left wandering for hours when he could not make connect with his mother, Zofia Cisowski, who had travelled three hours from Kamloops to pick him up. Dziekanski, 40, was shot five times with a Taser gun and died minutes later.

"There is a court order that will enable (the government of Poland) to interview witnesses," said Butcher. Butcher said he's not trying to stop news of the proceedings from being transmitted internationally.

It's unclear whether the Polish government is seeking to charge the officers involved in the incident.

The matter of restricting the transcripts was adjourned until later.

Poland's consul general in Vancouver is attending the inquiry as an observer.

For a third day, Const. Gerry Rundel, a two-year veteran of the force, was on the witness stand. Under aggressive questioning, Rundel said repeatedly that Dziekanski appeared to be acting aggressively when he picked up a stapler. "In training, when anything is grabbed and somebody goes to a combative stance, that object — no matter what it is, whether it's a stapler or anything else — is considered a weapon," said Rundel.

"There's no doubt in my mind that he took up a combative stance and he intended to harm us officers and anyone else in the public was also a possibility. No doubt in my mind."

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