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

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Lawyers want no misconduct in Taser inquiry

June 9, 2009
Canwest News Service

Four RCMP officers who Tasered and restrained Robert Dziekanski are asking a B.C. Supreme Court judge to stop Commissioner Tom Braidwood from making any findings of misconduct against them after an inquiry into the death.

The Braidwood public inquiry into Taser use, and the death of Polish immigrant Dziekanski in Vancouver airport, has heard from more than 80 witnesses, including the four RCMP officers, since January and will hear closing arguments starting June 19.

Now RCMP lawyers have turned to an outside court to launch a petition that could delay the commission schedule.

"We say he (Braidwood) doesn't have jurisdiction to make findings of misconduct because it's a provincial inquiry and these are federal officers," said David Butcher, the lawyer for Const. Bill Bentley, the first officer to face Dziekanski at the airport on Oct. 14, 2007.

"I will be taking the position my client acted in accordance with his training and the law on the night in question."

The 28-page petition will be argued in court on Friday and Butcher noted it would be "presumptuous" to speculate how long the Supreme Court could take to rule on the issue.

But Walter Kosteckyj, lawyer for Dziekanski's mother Zofia Cisowski, said the RCMP lawyer's "last-ditch effort" will be "an additional burden to my client, and only add more uncertainty and delay."

"The RCMP is well-funded, unlike my client . . . and the officers knew from the beginning the inquiry had the power to find wrongdoing and the commissioner has been clear about that from the outset," said Kosteckyj.

Kosteckyj noted "these officers are paid by B.C. taxpayers and they came to this commission saying they welcomed the inquiry and that the evidence would clear them. Now at the last minute they're arguing lack of jurisdiction."

No comments: