Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

YVR questions yield more questions

with 10 comments

For more than a year now I have been trying to get the final BC Coroner’s Service report into the suicide death of Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, who was the the Media Liaison Officer (MLO) for the RCMP in October 2007 when Polish traveller Robert Dziekanski was Tasered by officers responding to a disturbance call at the International Arrivals area at Vancouver International Airport, YVR.

Lemaitre was found dead July 29, 2013, hanging in his home in Abbotsford. Two years later his widow, Sheila, filed a lawsuit against the RCMP and the Attorney General, claiming the Force made him a scapegoat for the fatal confrontation between Dziekanski and the RCMP and the resulting fall-out. I have written about the circumstances previously: Hindsight is 20/20 in YVR case

A year ago, I spoke with John Knox, the Special Investigations Coroner with the Coroner’s Service who is responsible for the file. He said the investigation wasn’t finished. I was incredulous. The man hung himself. For the Coroner’s office, whose responsibility is to investigate unnatural, sudden and unexpected deaths, determine a cause of death and ensure the relevant facts are put before the public either via a report or a public inquest, to be dragging their feet for two years at that point was incredible. A typical suicide should take no more than a month or two, three at the outside. What could possibly be taking so long?

Knox was unresponsive to my questions on the subject so I started digging around a bit and found out that Knox, to this date, now nearly three and a half years after the suicide, from what I can find out, has yet to conclude a file.

He has been with the Coroner’s Service since 2011. He was given the position of Special Investigations Coroner in 2012 to coincide with the launch of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) where he was the designated Coroner to deal with all things police involved.

Prior to that he was a private investigator since 2005. In BC, that primarily means doing ICBC investigations, mostly sitting in the back of a van doing surveillance trying to prove fraudulent claims. His LinkedIn page says he was “specializing in personal background investigations, insurance claims investigations, witness location services and document service.” Document service? Well, that’s impressive.

What qualified him for this position?

Incredibly, the fledgling IIO, lacking in experienced investigators were to work with a Coroner’s Special Investigator himself lacking in investigative expertise in major cases as well. Well, what could possibly go wrong? Talk about the blind leading the deaf.

In the four years since being named Special Investigations Coroner, he has yet to complete a file, including stunningly, 26 cases resulting from the Pickton investigation. Another source in the office told me, “John doesn’t really leave the office. Even on local cases he sends people out to do his work.”

I was stunned.

Then I was told about a recent suicide case of a municipal police officer in the late spring when Knox, instead of attending the family home, as is customary, required the widow to attend his office. He arranged for another coroner to sit in on the interview and said he was going to record the interview. He took his cell phone out then hid it and never told the widow he was recording the interview.

The coroner sitting 2nd chair was very uncomfortable with what was being done that a complaint was lodged with the Deputy Chief Coroner. This led to much upheaval in the office and after a couple of hours of what was described to me as a “raised voice conversation about the legality of recording without telling the person.” The DCC evidently said the service would support Knox.

Interesting.

In Canada, there has long been a legal standard called “One Party Consent” as it relates to recording private conversations derived from Sec. 184 of the Criminal Code, but that has been blurred by Supreme Court decisions mostly relating to the police doing it. And then there is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act which further complicates this issue.  In this case, at the very least, the ethics are clearly lacking, let alone the lack of compassion for the widow of a serving police officer who had just tragically taken his life.

In 2011, following the appointment and subsequent departure of three Chief Coroners in a two year period, the service was in disarray. The BC Auditor General looked into it and issued a report with a number of recommendations in July, 2011. One of those concerned timelines of investigations. The service set a standard of 18 weeks. In August 2013, Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe issued a response report saying that recommendation was “Fully or substantially implemented”

Well, evidently not, as the Lemaitre suicide case shows. Pierre Lemaitre took his life on July 29, 2013. Now, nearing the end of October, 2016 and no conclusive report appears forthcoming. Lemaitre’s widow is engaged in a lawsuit with the RCMP, two of the four members who attended YVR on that fateful night were shamefully convicted of perjury by a system looking for someone to scapegoat. And the Coroner investigating the suicide of one of the major players in the events of that fateful night in October, 2007 can’t seem to complete this or any other file.

Robert Dziekanski was on Canadian soil for 12 hours. Thus far, he has cost the loss of two lives including his own, more than $50 million of taxpayer’s money and four Mounties their careers and for two of them, possibly their liberty.

The story continues to get worse and worse.

-30-

Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

 

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Written by Leo Knight

October 27, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

10 Responses

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  1. Interesting post Leo. Always spun from one viewpoint, but factual and informative!

    I would correct one point though…. In the last paragraph you mention the costs Robert Dzeikanski cost us…..

    Respectfully…. I would argue the the police force, poor training, poor supervision and oversight, poor decision making and a crappy police culture cost what you describe…. Not Robert.

    The police are the last line in a crisis situation (which this certainly was not- broken computers and an upset individual is far from a crisis) and they could have performed so much better….. Developing better training before, actions during, and response after.

    Bottom line… Those cops and the force wasted their careers, two lives, and big taxpayer bucks.

    Kenny

    October 27, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    • Well, the RCMP did change their training and policy following, but I agree that was mostly cosmetic. But, and I have written much on this, the four members who attended YVR acted according to their training and responded to the situation that Dziekanski presented.

      Leo Knight

      October 29, 2016 at 3:11 pm

  2. I don’t understand how the author can state that DZEIKANSKI is responsible for anything motioned in the last paragraph.

    This appears to be a case of “blaming the victim”

    In addition to Kenny’s comments, I would add that recruitment selection also needs to be examined to ensure we get members with integrity and honesty .

    Gill

    October 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    • Have you actually read anything about the case? Or are you just knee-jerking from an uninformed position? If you arrived at a foreign airport and couldn’t figure out where to go would you ask someone who looked official or hang around for 12 hours and end up throwing things and screaming and attract the attention of police?

      As far as recruitment, I would argue that the RCMP’s recruiting process have become too strict in that they are not accepting what used to be the backbone of the RCMP in contract policing. The focus on post secondary education has attracted a certain applicant with liberal arts degrees and no life experience and eliminated the hard-working prairie kid raised on a farm.

      Leo Knight

      October 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm

  3. Too funny. Leo is bored of the IIO now his main mole has left, so he has moved his focus to the Coroner’s service, another organization he claims to have expert knowledge of, though i wonder how much Major Crime Management, Police oversight or Coroner’s experience he draws on with his myopic analysis.
    We must all hope he doesn’t turn his ‘expertise’ to the uniform security business where he spent 22 years after moving from one Police force to another before quitting no doubt because he didn’t quite cut it.

    Perhaps he could share his expertise in building security scandals or some other highly controversial aspect of being a security guard? Stirring stuff

    And lets remember this is all Dziekanski’s fault, obviously.

    Please stop calling Leo an author, he’ll get ideas.

    KK

    October 29, 2016 at 2:34 am

    • I’d respond, but some folks just aren’t worth it. You are one of those.

      Leo Knight

      October 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      • No definitely don’t get into a debate with someone quoting facts Leo, i reckon you’d be out of your depth. lol.

        What is your Police oversight experience?
        What is your Major Crime Management experience, or even exposure to Major Crime?
        What is your Coroner’s experience? How many autopsies have you attended for example?

        Fact is you blow hard on these issues with zero experience of them and that makes you someone whose opinion is baseless and has no credibility because you don’t really know anything about the issues involved other than what your mole network tells you.

        Something you can opine about with credibility however is the Uniform Security Industry right so why don’t you start into that, there must be plenty of scandal in that sector, starting with the $15hr pay.

        D’oh

        KK

        October 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm

  4. I don’t know what your problem is and frankly, I don’t care. Keep up the stupidity and I’ll take away your ability to comment. If you want to debate an issue that’s fine. My reputation and my credibility is well established. Oh, if you really want to say something, maybe you should consider signing your name instead of shooting at me behind an anonymous email.

    Leo Knight

    October 29, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    • Hey Leo, i know you care really because you replied, having just told me I wasn’t worth it? As for stupidity i don’t think you should be allowed to corner that market lol

      I don’t actually have a problem with you Leo. I find your ramblings quite amusing because they are so lacking in gravitas. Sort of uninformed knee jerks. But if challenging Leo indicates i have a problem then i ask you Leo what IS your problem? All you do here is second guess and criticize the operations of organizations about which you have no knowledge and no substantive experience, based on an uninformed, sorry…uniform security career and a Police career from when, the 80s during which you moved forces, pretty rare in those days. That and a few odorous moles.

      I’d say your reputation, derived from what i have read of your ‘work’ is that you are ill informed and prefer prejudicial rather than rational argument. I’d call it rabble rousing but your following is so insignificant that hardly seems to fit the bill does it. But yes, you espouse simplistic, biased opinions which you embellish for effect and which show a fundamental failure to grasp the real issues…not a lot else. I’m sure your reputation amongst other people who share your view of stuff they know nothing about is quite high but hey, flies stick to Trump.

      Have you even read Braidwood? You blame Dziekanski fgs. Don’t you get it, civilian oversight of the Police that serve them is the future because of this case. Dziekanski spoke no English so how would he communicate? The video shows he couldn’t. ‘t was also out of his country and flying for the first time and was in a different time zone after long haul flying, he was emotionally disturbed, perhaps after a psychotic episode and any mature cop would have recognized that in his erratic behavior. The Policing community has which is why EDP training has been pivotal to their management of these situations. And sorry but i f you feel threatened by a stapler while carrying a sidearm you’re in the wrong job, unless the staples have ballistic qualities i’m unaware of lol.

      Again with your uninformed knee-jerk remark you come cross as ignorant of the subject because, as we know, you don’t actually speak from a position of experience. You don’t really invite debate because you are clearly partisan and as we have established, you don’t really know or care about the facts, they’re just a minor inconvenience. You still sees the Department as infallible, perhaps even untouchable. Are you so naive you think there isn’t corruption in Policing? That Police must not be held to account? Police are the first group that should be held to account in our society because they exercise lethal force. Truth is you’re an anachronistic outsider peering in, desperately trying to be relevant and prove how right you are. Like one of those people who watches CSI and thinks they could run a crime scene. I’ve given you the opportunity to demonstrate your experience and you have chosen to ignore that.

      You suffer from a very bad case of confirmation bias Leo, coupled with ignorance. A dangerous combination. You speak authoritatively about situations you know nothing about based on a short career in Policing over 25 years ago. Your writing, unbalanced and totally lacking in credibility as it is, reveals an agenda so close to the surface that you just have no real quality as a commentator/observer, other than with those who share your partisan views and sources who effectively use you to alleviate their own sad, working situations.

      You also claim, ad nauseam, that you know how things should be done within these organizations, yet you have no disclosed experience in either Oversight, Major Crime or as a Coroner, QED you don’t actually know what you’re talking about….you do understand that to vent as you do, you really ought to have a basic grasp of your subject matter right?

      Fact is I’m just doing what you did to Rosenthal and now Knox, so of course you’d prefer if i go away. I really thought you’d at least appreciate that. In short, you can’t take the criticism you hand out so readily.
      As for hiding behind anonymity…you mean like your sources? Some not very successfully….too funny. Those people that you rely on inside organizations you have no experience of, on which you base your assumptive judgments. Lets out them shall we?

      And you clearly like sycophants on here so of course if anyone calls you out, you threaten them with silence on a blog as you have done to moi. Please remember a blog is where you express opinions and hope others will read them. Bit weak to cyber threaten me don’t you think? Do i only get to stay if i agree with your opinion? For real, I’ve nothing against you personally i’d just like to see some balanced analysis.

      But hey ban me, of course you would, i reckon censorship is the only move you’ve got.

      Best, Hillary.

      KK

      October 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      • Feel better now? If you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to sign your name then this is your last post.

        Leo Knight

        October 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm


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