Inquiry can find misconduct in Dziekanski death
Published Monday, June 15, 2009 8:12PM EDT
The head of the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski can reach findings of misconduct among the four RCMP officers involved in the incident, a judge ruled Monday.
The officers, who shot Dziekanski with a Taser when he became agitated at the Vancouver airport on Oct., 2007, argued that inquiry Commissioner Thomas Braidwood could not make misconduct findings against them.
The officers said allegations levelled at the inquiry -- that they acted improperly during the airport incident and lied to cover it up -- are criminal offences and cannot be covered under a public inquiry.
Their lawyers also argued that a provincial inquiry does not have jurisdiction over federal police officers.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman rejected the officers' claims, a move that will allow the inquiry to resume Friday with closing arguments.
"None of the allegations in these notices (of misconduct), if they are substantiated, come close to a finding of criminal liability," Silverman said.
Art Vertlieb, the lead counsel for the inquiry, said the decision would help the commissioner and everyone involved reach a conclusion.
"It allows the commissioner to carry on with arguments and then work to getting a report so people will know what this is all about," he told reporters outside the courthouse.
Braidwood will likely render his findings in the fall, according to CTV's Rob Brown.
Brown said Braidwood will offer recommendations on the use of Tasers, but they will not be binding.
"(And) in terms of the Tasering incident, there will be nothing binding in terms of any sort of repercussions for these Mounties, other than seeing his findings in black and white for the world to read and his opinion on whether or not they acted appropriately in using the Taser as they did that night," Brown told CTV News Channel.
The four Mounties were not charged in connection with the incident. The Crown justified this decision by saying the officers acted lawfully and responded with reasonable force.
However, the officers' statements, that Dziekanski was violent before he was Tasered, appeared to contradict images seen in an amateur video.