Crown cites ‘collusion’ in appealing Taser death inquiry perjury case

Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | September 12, 2013 | Circulation: 251,700

The Crown is appealing the acquittal of a RCMP officer charged with lying before the inquiry into the Vancouver airport Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski.

Richard Peck, the special prosecutor assigned to the high-profile case, filed documents Aug. 28 calling for a new trial for Const. Bill Bentley, acquitted of perjury on July 29.

He was one of the four police officers who confronted the 40-year-old Polish immigrant in 2007 in the airport. Dziekanski died after being stunned five times with Tasers. The officers were charged with perjury in the ensuing public inquiry, over key differences between their testimony and a bystander’s video recording.

“The grounds of the appeal include that the trial judge made legal errors by not applying the correct legal tests with certain evidence and in failing to consider all the evidence in reaching the decision,” Crown spokeswoman Samantha Hulme told 24 hours.

The appeal alleges the judge didn’t properly consider evidence the “defendant colluded with his fellow Mounties prior to making his police notebook entries,” and offering statements to members of the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

Citing what Peck alleged were “striking similarities” between the four officers’ notebook entries, Justice Mark McEwan “failed to consider all of the evidence in relation to whether the Crown proved there was collusion between the four RCMP officers,” the appeal documents state.

The three other officers involved face their own upcoming perjury trials.

The RCMP wouldn’t comment on the appeal. Interview requests to Peck, Bentley and his lawyer were not returned by press time.

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