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Thursday, March 11, 2010

EDITORIAL: Justice Can Be Slow, and Mysterious

March 11, 2010
See Edmonton

British prime minister William Gladstone famously said: “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Gladstone may well have been speaking of the case of Randy Fryingpan, and Const. Mike Wasylyshen.

In October 2002, Const. Wasylyshen and four other officers were investigating a complaint of the attempted theft of a car. When they arrived on the scene, they found four people in the suspect vehicle.

Three of them left the car when ordered, but 16-year-old Fryingpan didn’t. He had passed out.

Wasylyshen unholstered his handy Taser and gave the unresponsive Fryingpan not one, not two, but EIGHT zaps in 68 seconds.

This is where Wasylyshen and Fryingpan entered the netherworld of complaints against police. Fryingpan registered a complaint, which was dismissed by the police when they arrived at the quite amazing conclusion that Wasylyshen was justified in Tasering an unresponsive man. Fryingpan’s lawyer appealed to the Law Enforcement Review Board in 2005. It took two more years before a decision was made to charge Wasylyshen with unlawful exercise of authority and insubordination. The internal disciplinary hearing on Wasylyshen will be held on Aug. 9 of this year.

Why the delay? According to Tony Simioni, head of the police union, if an appeal request is made, it must be heard, unlike a court of law where a judge decides if there is cause of hearing. This has resulted in cases dragging out for years.

This is absurd. No one — neither the alleged victim nor the accused cop — should have to wait eight years for a resolution.

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