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Monday, June 15, 2009

Court rules Taser inquiry CAN find officers at fault

Clockwise from top left, RCMP officers Const. Gerry Rundel, Const. Bill Bentley, Cpl. Monty Robinson and Const. Kwesi Millington have challenged the right of the Braidwood Commission to make a finding of misconduct. (CBC)

June 15, 2009
CBC News

The B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed a constitutional challenge by four Mounties who questioned whether a provincial public inquiry could find fault against the federal RCMP officers involved in the death of Robert Dziekanski.

Justice Arnie Silverman ruled Monday morning in Vancouver that the inquiry properly warned the officers that it may accuse them of using the Taser on Dziekanski when it was "not justified," of giving "misleading" testimony and of misrepresenting the facts.

The judge said the inquiry commissioner, retired judge Thomas Braidwood, is entitled to make such findings in his final report into the October 2007 incident and is not prevented by any lack of jurisdiction.

Lawyers representing the four officers argued in court on Friday that Braidwood's findings were effectively allegations of criminal misconduct, and therefore outside his jurisdiction.

But Silverman ruled that argument was invalid, and also dismissed the officers' claims that the commission should provide additional details of what they did wrong.

Constables Gerry Rundel, Bill Bentley and Kwesi Millington, and Cpl. Monty Robinson were all present when Dziekanski died after being stunned several times with a Taser at Vancouver International Airport.

The officers could still appeal the decision, but for now it means the Braidwood inquiry will likely begin hearing closing submissions on Friday.

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