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Saturday, June 19, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE: June 18, 2010

The Canadian Civil Rights Movement (CCRM) praises Justice Braidwood for his courageous and direct pursuit of the truth in the death of Robert Dziekanski at YVR. He has performed an honourable service to the public in exposing the shameful conduct and cover-up by RCMP officers and the incompetence of the British Columbia Criminal Justice Branch.

The Attorney General’s immediate announcement of the appointment of a Special Prosecutor reflects the damning findings made by Justice Braidwood, including the statement that the “public can draw its own conclusions about misconduct.” Justice Braidwood’s conclusion reflects the longstanding and widely held public sentiment and view that a Special Prosecutor ought to be appointed. This was illustrated by the CCRM which advocated and circulated a petition signed by thousands of members of the public, demanding such an appointment, and which was submitted to the Criminal Justice Branch (“CJM”) of the Attorney General’s Ministry.

Justice Braidwood has confirmed that, which was publicly known because of the Paul Pritchard video. The decision of the CJB was then and remains indefensible. It raises serious doubt about the impartiality and competence of the CJB decision to not recommend charges in 2008. Its decision was totally unjustified and incredible.

This all caused unacceptable delay and compounded the suffering to Zofia Cisowski. It also cost millions of dollars of taxpayers money – the Inquiry while it has performed an important public function – only confirms what we (the public) already knew. Therefore, we call on the B.C. Legislature to examine and review the conduct and operation of the Criminal Justice Branch in the Dziekanski case. Public confidence and accountability in the administration of justice requires this as well.

We would like also to praise Justice Braidwood for recommending the creation of an independent civilian oversight body to deal with police misconduct.

We believe Zofia Cisowski may have been unnecessarily pressured by the RCMP for out of court settlement of the civil lawsuit and urged to not publicly seek criminal charges, prior to the release of the Braidwood Report.

The RCMP resistance and interference in the matter of potential criminal charges has backfired in view of the final Inquiry Report and the imminent appointment of a Special Prosecutor. In addition, as we learned today, the Polish Ambassador to Canada confirmed the Polish Authorities continue to maintain an open file and interest in criminal proceedings in Poland. Zofia Cisowski is represented in Poland by lawyers, Piotr Banasik and B. William Sundhu. The CCRM will continue to monitor firsthand the developments in Poland and inform the public through media.

The Inquiry report is a powerful indictment of the shameful conduct of officers and which “shocked and repulsed people all over the world.” The RCMP engaged in a cover up – all of which has tarnished Canada’s international image. Regretfully, the only non-governmental organization which supported the RCMP and expressed its willingness to assist the RCMP in restoring its image in Canada and around the world was the Canadian Polish Congress. This shameful act took place in Ottawa on July 29, 2009 at a meeting between Władysław Lizoń, the President of the Canadian Polish Congress and RCMP Commissioner William Elliot.

The CCRM feels the position it has consistently taken and advocated has been vindicated by the findings of the Inquiry Report and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Sadly, no passage of time can diminish the true nature of this tragedy.

Zygmunt Riddle, Tel. 604-868-7070, zriddle@shaw.ca
Bill Sundhu (Spokesperson for CCRM)
Tel: (O) 778-471-5777 (C) 250-574-2124
Email: bill@bwilliamsundhu.com
Web: http://bwilliamsundhu.com/index.html

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