You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Charge against Edmonton officer stayed in Taser incident

May 21, 2009
The Edmonton Journal

A charge against a city police officer accused of assaulting a jaywalker with a Taser in August 2004 has been stayed.

Const. Aubrey Zalaski had been previously convicted on the charge, but that was overturned on appeal in Nov. 2007 after a judge found the pedestrian's testimony evasive and contradictory.

Since then, Zalaski's case has not been scheduled for a new trial. On May 11, the charge against him was stayed.

"It is the duty of the Crown to end a prosecution when the evidence no longer offers a reasonable likelihood of conviction, and we had reached that point in the case of officer Zalaski," said David Dear, Alberta Justice spokesman. "Issues of credibility had arisen around key witness testimony, and we believe those issues ended any reasonable likelihood of officer Zalaski being convicted a second time."

Once a charge is stayed, Alberta Justice has a year to reverse that decision and bring the case back to court.

In August 2004, Zalaski spotted Paul Cetinski jaywalking near the downtown police station. When Zalaski called to him, Cetinski ignored him.

Zalaski then followed Cetinski and tried to handcuff him after he refused an order to sit on the curb.

The defence argued that Cetinski turned in a "menacing fashion" and was then Tasered. Cetinski claimed he only looked around in surprise when handcuffed.

In granting an appeal, Court of Queen's Bench Justice James Lewis ruled the original trial judge relied on evidence from Cetinski despite "real concerns" with the jaywalker's testimony and finding the man evasive, contradictory and unable to recall events accurately.

No comments: