Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Justice denied for Mountie on appeal

with 9 comments

The war on police continues.

Last weekend, 12 Dallas police officers were shot, five of them fatally by a nutter with military training and Islamic inducement. Oh yes, I should add the shooter was black and the cops shot were white. In the ensuing ‘negotiations’ with police the shooter said he was trying to kill as many white cops as possible. But apparently, according to the Department of Justice, this was not a hate crime. Had the tables been turned, you can bet it would be a hate crime.

Tragic.

Yesterday, a travesty of justice was committed in a Vancouver court against a Mountie who was just doing his job. Cst. Kwesi Millington, the young officer who wielded the Taser at YVR the night Robert Dziekanski died, was appealing his conviction for perjury.

In issuing a 23 page written judgement, the Court of Appeal essentially punted. In legal terms they said the appellant (Millington) didn’t argue his case well enough to convince them to order a new trial.

Millington, with his legal team headed by Vancouver lawyer Ravi Hira will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. I am not holding my breath on this one.

Hira argued five solid points on appeal yet the Court of Appeal gave him short shrift. Why?

The essential component of the criminal trials against the four officers involved in the YVR incident is did they collude to make up some sort of statement? In and of itself, this is nonsense. One only need look at the timeline of events to conclude it was impossible. Yet, the bespectacled, pencil-necked Mr. Justice William (Bill, when I knew him as a junior prosecutor) Ehrcke somehow managed to “infer” they must have colluded.

How, is a whole other question considering once Dziekanski went down, Cpl. Monty Robinson was monitoring his physical symptoms while the other three officers were canvassing witnesses.  Once the watch NCO from Richmond Detachment arrived and took control of the scene, he ordered  the three constables to the sub-detachment to await follow up investigators and Robinson to remain at YVR to await those self-same investigators from IHIT.

Erchke’s “inference” could also be justifiably called a “great leap in mental gymnastics” yet the Court of Appeal declined to deal with that.

One wonders if they were told to let sleeping dogs lie as it were?

From day one of this affair, politics has reared its ugly head.  The Braidwood inquiry which emanated from this was fundamentally flawed in that Mr. Justice Braidwood found the four officers colluded in the absence of any evidence. To conclude that one presumes that imagination trumps evidence.

That finding triggered two legal reviews. One, commissioned by the RCMP, was done by very respected counsel Len Daoust. He concluded that no case existed against the four members relative to perjury at the Braidwood inquiry. The other, that of Special Prosecutor Richard Peck, pursued the matter at great expense to the taxpayer.

Why, for example, were the four members prosecuted individually? Surely that quadrupled the cost to prosecute the cases on essentially the same fact pattern. Apparently, once a Special Prosecutor is appointed no further oversight can be done by the Criminal Justice Branch. Every decision is up to the Special Prosecutor. The meter on billable hours just runs and runs.

The prosecutions included flying a lawyer back and forth from Toronto for every appearance, argument, trial date and what have you.  Flights and hotels for a Toronto lawyer? Why? Are there no competent lawyers in Vancouver?

One notes that Peck was hired by the same Toronto lawyer a few years back to deal with a matter involving the Toronto Police. Apparently, scratching backs is accepted among lawyers when dealing with taxpayer dollars.

For the record, neither Richard Peck nor Mike Fenton, the Toronto lawyer who prosecuted three of the four cases, deigned to show up at the appeal hearing. Peck left it to his juniors. Perhaps he thought he’d lose the appeal?

But no victory for Kwesi Millington who spent the day in a jail cell. Just as he did the day the appeal was argued. A cop who was just doing his job was in a jail cell as his lawyer tried to argue common sense to a legal panel bereft of it.

I’m stunned. Offended. And a myriad of other things I probably cannot and should not say.

The YVR Four did nothing wrong. Yet two, the non-white ones by the way, were convicted and sentenced to jail for doing their jobs.  My anger in this is palpable.

It’s very hard to go to jail in BC if you are a garden variety criminal charged with B&E, theft, assault, rape, robbery etc. But a cop doing his job? Two years is the standard apparently.  And the BC Court of Appeal is okay with that.

Personally, I’m disgusted.

Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

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Written by Leo Knight

July 15, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , ,

9 Responses

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  1. Good article Leo. I totally agree with you. I feel terrible for this young Officer. It seems that in this politically charged and politically correct world we live in, it is OK to scapegoat the cops and to do so, go so far as to orchestrate these kangaroo courts determined to find cops guilty of something but dressing them up to look like the neutral, evidence -driven, procedure-bound courts of law that the criminals get to participate in. I too am disgusted. I was hoping the Court of Appeal would show some leadership.

    I wouldn’t want to be a young cop just starting out.

    Sheila

    July 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm

  2. That’s cute when you say that Robinson was monitoring Drykanski.

    Clearly he wasn’t, because as soon as the first paramedic arrived he flipped him over and started CPR with the cuffs still on while he watched the surprise in everyone’s face.

    What the cops did in yvr was a training failure. A continuum of force written by police, for police, with no stakeholder involvement (read the public, who the police deal with, not an enemy force in an occupied country), that is way to aggressive, allows police to use violence way to soon in most scenarios, and fails to encourage descalation in a meaningful way.

    Plus a new CEW that had a training policy heavily influenced by the manufacturer, TASER, and their ‘experts’, who believed their new toy was always harmless to the heart of those tased (which defies common sense and any first year medical school debate).

    These two items are what people are pissed about. The individual cops can only be expected on average to be as good as their crappy training that night in 2007. Hopefully some will be better than average, but what happened was a dreadful training failure. Policy on taser use has been modified with less input from the manufacturer, but the use of force continuum is still giving police way more latitude to use violence too early in the engagement.

    Add in a real in some cases, and perceived in other cases of the police closing ranks, seeing nothing when fellow officers make mistakes or are just plain bad apples, and you have the public being rightfully upset. Enough so that some in the US are reacting with violence.

    The next move in the police’s hands. Get body cameras, get accountable for your actions, welcome oversight, and realize what you are doing will be caught on camera today and your actions have to pass the six o’clock news test. The days of lying about it, and the court giving more weight to a cops testimony are over when a camera is there.

    Drum out your bad apples, stop closing ranks. Treat the public with respect.

    There are more non police than police, you want our support, earn it back, for all our sakes.

    Don’t be surprised when the public supports charging police with something when someone is killed on video. We realize that some cops need to be in jail as an example to other cops to raise their game and realize they are not above the law.

    Ken

    July 15, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    • Hey it’s Ken!! How was the Social Justice Warrior retreat!? Did you learn anything new? Oooops, just read your post…nope…same old shite. Have fun at the parade!

      Not Ken and bloody thankful!

      July 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    • Ken’s written his own little editorial here but has entirely missed the point of Leo’s which is that whether this was a training failure or any one of a number of things, it wasn’t Perjury. Perjury, intentionally lying under oath about a material fact, is considered a very serious offence because it strikes at the heart of our legal system for obvious reasons. Despite that it’s one of the least prosecuted offences. Anyone who has spent any time in our courts sees Perjury committed on a daily basis. The accused takes the stand in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt and denies committing the crime. The defense puts an alibi witness up who claims the accused was with him 20 miles away at the time until investigation demolishes his story.

      In his judgement the judge simply rejects this evidence, convicts the accused of the offences for which he was originally charged but he gets a pass on lying in court because essentially no one can be bothered. This time, in a case that’s taken on a life of its own, they decided to bother. The public (yes, the same ‘stakeholders’ that Ken wants consulted on everything) were all ginned up by a media-driven witch-hunt and wanted a scalp (or 4 or 5) and the Crown was only too happy to oblige.

      In the absence of any evidence that would support criminal charges connected to the taser or any other force applied to Mr. Dziekanski they decided to go over the transcripts of the evidence the members gave at the Braidwood Inquiry. This is always an easy one because, as I wrote at the time, the Crown gets to have it both ways. (http://primetimecrime.com/contributing/2009/20090306cooper.htm) and (http://primetimecrime.com/contributing/2013/20130804cooper.htm):

      “When parts of the Constables’ stories differ, they’re accused of lying. When they are the same, they’re accused of collusion. When a portion of their evidence appears at variance with the video which is open to interpretation, they’re accused of both and their professionalism is attacked.”

      As to the oversight that Ken wants cops to welcome, here in BC whether cops welcome it or not they’ve got it and the interests of the ‘stakeholders’ are represented in spades. There’s the Police Services Branch which sets policing standards throughout the province. There’s the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, the Independent Investigations Office, the Crown, the Courts, the news media, etc. etc.

      In a democracy most cops understand this. All they asked is that the oversight be fair and evenly applied. When career criminals can get away with lying in court on a daily basis but policemen with unblemished records are singled out and facing prison because of an ‘inferrence’ it is neither.

      Bob Cooper

      July 18, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      • Thank You. Bob Cooper, stilllllll holding out hope for common sense and True justice..

        K Rundel

        July 19, 2016 at 12:10 am

      • Well said Bob and Leo! This Ken guy is a dime a dozen, off point, axe to grind, and on and on.
        This case is an excellent example of giving the public what they wanted short of a public hanging. Who knows perhaps this Ken guy is lobbying the Government to commence public hangings for police, of course only after they’ve been lit on fire after dragging them by horse down Davie St.

        Doug Bain

        August 6, 2016 at 5:15 pm

  3. Ken with statements like yours don’t be surprised when more cops decide to say FIDO and arrive after the dust has settled. Far easier and safer to deal with the aftermath, get statements, collect video then to get involved with in progress calls.

    Anon

    July 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm

  4. Disgusted as well. Well-said Leo Knight!

    Lee Keane

    July 18, 2016 at 2:34 am

  5. […] They want their members to have pre-interview disclosure to ensure whatever statement is made by any member will allow that individual to review CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) information, radio dispatch traffic and any CCTV video footage germane to the incident prior to talking to IIO investigators. If you want to understand why, you need only to consider the four RCMP officers who were involved in the taser death of Robert Dziekanski at YVR in 2007. Two of the four were convicted of perjury in what can only be described as a travesty of justice. (For more on that, click here) […]


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