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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Taser International loses bid to quash Braidwood conclusions

August 10, 2010
Ian Bailey, Vancouver — Globe and Mail

Taser International has lost another bid to block the findings of the Braidwood Inquiry into the police use of tasers and the death of Robert Dziekanski

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Sewell's ruling today comes after a hearing in which the Arizona-based manufacturer of taser weapons sought to quash the conclusion of inquiry head Thomas Braidwood that tasers could cause death or severe injury.

Mr. Braidwood’s inquiry looked into the October, 2007 death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport. RCMP officers approaching Mr. Dziekanski after he began acting erratically, stunned him a number of times with a taser. Mr. Dziekanski died shortly after the confrontation.

Mr. Braidwood focused on two issues in his inquiry – the circumstances of Mr. Dziekanski’s death and the police use of stun guns.

“I have concluded that the Study Commission fully discharged any duty of fairness which it owed to the petitioner with respect to the conduct of the mandate and with regard to its decision-making process,” Justice Sewell said in a ruling released Tuesday.

Justice Sewell said it's clear to him that the inquiry's commissioner, retired justice Thomas Braidwood, had carefully looked at the opinions of medical experts and his findings were reasonable.

Mr. Braidwood's explosive report rejected Taser's claims that its product does not cause death, a finding that Taser said was unfair and should not be allowed to stand.

Taser lawyers argued in court that the company did not have a chance to see the report before it was released and that the conclusions were not supported by the facts.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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