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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Hearing delayed in Tasering of transit fare-evader

May 3, 2011
Sarah Douziech, The Province

A public hearing into a Vancouver transit cop’s alleged abuse of authority stemming from the Tasering of an alleged fare-evader in 2007 was delayed Monday.

The hearing, originally scheduled for May 2, was announced by B.C.’s police watchdog in November after police agencies that investigated the case disagreed about the appropriateness of the officer’s actions.

Police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe has alleged Const. Dan Dickhout abused his authority during the incident.

On Sept. 13, 2007, Dickhout was checking SkyTrain fares and found Christopher Lypchuk had allegedly not paid the fare.

While Dickhout was writing a ticket, Lypchuk fled down a stairwell at Scott Road Station.

Dickhout caught up and Tasered him, causing Lypchuk to fall to the ground and hit his head.

The hearing has been delayed because the transit officer’s lawyer is challenging Lowe’s power to call a hearing, a spokesperson for the police complaints commission in B.C. said.

Last Wednesday, Steven M. Boorne filed an injunction in court that, if approved, could cancel the public hearing entirely.

If it’s overruled, MacDonald said the hearing could be rescheduled., but it wouldn’t be until 40 days following the ruling.

Bruce MacDonald, a senior investigative analyst with the commission, said their role is to restore or preserve public confidence in investigations of police misconduct or discipline.

“In terms of transparency and accountability, the police complaints commissioner retains the discretion to call a public hearing at any time,” MacDonald said.

The use of Tasers by law enforcement created an international black eye for Canada in October 2007 when Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died after being Tasered by RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport.

Taser use by Transit police was called into question in early 2008 after it was reported they were used on two non-violent alleged fare evaders.

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