The trial of Harold Bakema, a former Manitoba municipal police chief accused of perjury and obstruction of justice, is set to hear closing arguments today.


Harold Bakema, seen at the Taman inquiry in 2008, has pleaded not guilty to perjury, breach of trust and obstruction of justice. His trial began April 30 in Winn (CBC)

Bakema, who led the East St. Paul police force, is also charged with breach of trust in connection with a botched police investigation into a 2005 car crash that killed Crystal Taman, a 40-year-old mother of three from Winnipeg.

Bakema has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He is currently retired from police work.

The judge-only trial began hearing testimony April 30 in Winnipeg. Crown and defence lawyers are expected to deliver their closing arguments on Thursday.

Bakema was charged in 2010, following a lengthy external probe into how the East St. Paul police force handled the investigation into Taman's death.

On Feb. 25, 2005, Taman's car was rear-ended by a vehicle being driven by Derek Harvey-Zenk, who at the time was an officer with the Winnipeg Police Service.

At the time of the crash, Harvey-Zenk was off-duty and returning home from an after-shift party with other officers.

Inquiry held in 2008

Several witnesses have testified that Bakema told them Harvey-Zenk was impaired at the time of the fatal crash.


Crystal Taman in an undated photograph filed as part of the 2008 provincial inquiry into her death. ((Taman inquiry))

Harvey-Zenk originally faced several charges, but a controversial plea bargain led to all the charges — except for one count of dangerous driving causing death — being stayed.

He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served at home. He has since turned in his police badge.

Harvey-Zenk's plea bargain and sentence sparked public outrage and prompted the Manitoba government to hold an inquiry in 2008 into Taman's death.

Many of those who testified at Bakema's trial, including Harvey-Zenk, had testified at the 2008 inquiry.

Court heard during the trial that Bakema and Harvey-Zenk knew each other when they were both Winnipeg police officers based in the city's North End.

Bakema, who has since retired from police work, has been the only person to face criminal charges following the public inquiry.

The province has since disbanded the East St. Paul police force and hired the RCMP to police the area, which is just north of Winnipeg.