Judge disagrees video proves Mounties colluded in Taser case
Crown argues officers all erred on exactly the same point, suggesting collusion
Inaccurate statements made by RCMP officers after the Taser shooting of a Polish immigrant at the Vancouver airport does not necessarily mean the officers colluded with each other, a B.C. Supreme Court judge said Friday.
Crown counsel Eric Gottardi alleged Const. Bill Bentley, Const. Kwesi Millington, Const. Gerry Rundell and Cpl. Benjamin Robinson colluded with each other before giving their statements, concocting a story that left them free of blame.
Those statements detailed the officers concerns that Dziekanski was aggressively approaching them.
But a bystander's video later showed Dziekanski was actually turning away from the officers when they first deployed the Taser.
Justice Mark McEwan disagreed with the Crown's assertion that those discrepancies proved collusion.
The judge says the officers may have all just been wrong about what they thought they saw that night.
McEwan says a famous visual perception test video — in which viewers are told to count basketball passes between six players while a gorilla walks through the frame — demonstrates how easy it is to miss something.
About half the viewers later said they never saw the gorilla.
But Gottardi said the fact they all erred on exactly the same point — feeling threatened by Dziekanski — suggests collusion.
"If four people saw a gorilla and there was no gorilla, they collaborated on a story," he said.
The four officers confronted Robert Dziekanski in October 2007, stunning him multiple times with a Taser within seconds of arriving on the scene in response to reports of a man throwing furniture.
A coroner's report found Dziekanski, who was emigrating to Canada to join his mother in the B.C. Interior city of Kamloops, suffered a fatal heart attack but the death was deemed a homicide.
The trial continues Monday.
with files from CBC's Petti Fong