Four B.C. Mounties in Dziekanski airport Taser case charged with perjury

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

VICTORIA -- Perjury charges have now been laid against the four Mounties who confronted Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport and repeatedly stunned him with a Taser in 2007.

But the four will not be charged with anything relating to Dziekanski's death, nor will they be charged with obstructing justice after the death, said a statement from the criminal justice branch of the B.C. attorney general.

The special prosecutor in the case, Richard Peck, spent months reviewing the case.

He assessed whether the officers were criminally liable for Dziekanski's death and could be charged with manslaughter, assault and assault with a weapon and failing to provide the necessities of life.

He also considered "whether, in the preparation of their notes and police reports and in their statements to investigation, the four officers committed the offence of obstructing justice, mischief or breach of trust,'' said the statement.

But Peck concluded "there is no substantial likelihood of conviction in relation to those sets of offences.''

The "myriad'' reasons for that decision "will be made public once the prosecutions have been concluded.''

The branch confirmed plans for the perjury charges last week. Lawyers for two of the accused said their clients will plead not guilty and vigorously defend themselves.

The officers are accused of lying during testimony they gave at a public inquiry into Dziekanski's death, saying he was violent and refused to co-operate. But a bystander's video of the incident contradicted their statements.

The charges were formally filed Wednesday against Const. Bill Bentley, Const. Kwesi Millington, Const. Gerry Rundell and Cpl. Benjamin Robinson and the four will proceed directly to trial, skipping a preliminary hearing.

The officers will make their first court appearance June 29.

Dziekanski arrived at Vancouver's airport from Poland as a new immigrant, but spent several frustrating hours in the terminal unable to find his mother or communicate with border officials, airport staff or bystanders.

The four Mounties were called after he became agitated and started throwing furniture. Within seconds of arriving at the terminal, one of them fired a Taser several times as Dziekanski fell to the floor.

He died a short time later.

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