Acquittal in Dziekanski Taser perjury case appealed
RCMP Const. Bill Bentley was acquitted of perjury in Dziekanski case
Crown prosecutors in B.C. are appealing a ruling that acquitted RCMP Const. Bill Bentley of perjury charges for his testimony at the Robert Dziekanski inquiry.
Bentley was among four officers who confronted Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport in October 2007, when the Polish immigrant was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and died.
All four officers were charged with perjury for what the Crown alleged was altered testimony at a subsequent public inquiry.
But Bentley – who was tried first — was found not guilty after the judge concluded there were other innocent explanations for the discrepancies.
The special prosecutor in the case has filed a notice of appeal, arguing the trial judge failed to consider all of the evidence and failed to apply the correct legal test when determining whether the Crown proved its case.
Testimony at Braidwood Inquiry questioned
Bentley's legal troubles began when he tried to explain during the 2009 Braidwood Inquiry the differences between what could be seen on amateur video and what he initially told homicide investigators.
During the trial the Crown alleged Bentley and the other officers colluded on their stories to homicide investigators and then lied at the inquiry to cover up the deception.
In his ruling, Justice Mark McEwan wrote that the Crown prosecutors "advanced a suspicion based largely on circumstantial evidence," but failed to prove that Bentley had colluded with the other officers to knowingly make a false statement intended to mislead the inquiry.
McEwan concluded that although Bentley and the other officers made similar statements in their testimony that were ultimately shown to be wrong by a bystander's video of the incident, other independent witnesses also made similar mistakes in their statements.
The remaining three officers are standing trial separately. Those trials, scheduled to be heard by juries, are set for November of this year and February 2014.