British Columbia

Mountie Kwesi Millington tells perjury trial he did no wrong in Robert Dziekanski death

The RCMP officer who fired the Taser the night Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver International Airport in 2007 told his perjury trial that he did what he was trained to do.

Constable fired Taser the night Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver airport in 2007

RCMP Const. Kwesi Millington leaves court during a lunch break at his perjury trial in Vancouver on Monday. Millington fired the Taser the night Robert Dziekanski died in 2007. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
The RCMP officer who fired the Taser the night Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver International Airport in 2007 says he did what he was trained to do.

Const. Kwesi Millington on Monday spoke about the fatal incident for the first time since he testified at the public inquiry six years ago. 

Millington is on trial for perjury related to his inquiry testimony.  

“It was a traumatic incident,” Millington told the judge hearing his case. “It was a shocking incident."

Millington’s appearance in the witness box at his own trial was a surprise. The two other officers who were with Millington the night Dziekanski died remained silent at their perjury trials.

Previously, Millington’s lawyer, Ravi Hira, argued the Mountie should be acquitted based on a lack of evidence

But Justice William Ehrcke ruled that although the Crown’s case is largely circumstantial, there is enough evidence that a jury “could” find Millington guilty, and he ordered the trial to continue.

Hira then called Millington to testify on his own behalf.  

Millington appeared eager to speak. He testified he had never been to a call in which someone died, before confronting Dziekanski, and nothing like it has happened since.

Millington said he decided not to get legal advice before telling investigators what happened.

“I didn't think I did anything wrong,” Millington testified. “So I was ready to give a statement."

Braidwood inquiry testimony questioned

The Crown alleges Millington lied 10 times at the Braidwod inquiry, in order to explain glaring inconsistencies between the video of the incident and his statements and notes.

Robert Dziekanski died after being stunned multiple times with a Taser in the arrivals lounge of Vancouver International Airport. (Paul Pritchard)

Hira led Millington through the events of Oct. 14, 2007, when he and a team of RCMP officers confronted Dziekanski at the airport.

“As I got to Mr. Dziekanski, I could see he was agitated,” the officer testified.

“He had a stapler in one hand and a fist in the other. I believed he was going to attack us.”

“What’s your recollection of how the stapler was positioned?” Hira asked.

“At chest height,”  the officer replied.

Millington’s answer was significant, because it relates directly to two of the allegations against him. He initially claimed Dziekanski held the stapler “high.”

At the inquiry, Millington said he meant that Dziekanski held the stapler “above his waist.”  

Taser testimony

Millington also allegedly lied when he told the inquiry he didn’t realize Dziekanski had fallen to the ground after the first stun from the Taser.

In his notes, Millington wrote that Dziekanski had to be wrestled to the ground.

Four RCMP officers confronted Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport in 2007. (submitted by Paul Pritchard)

“I know now that he fell after the first application of the Taser,” Millington testified.

Several times, special prosecutor Scott Fenton tried to scuttle Hira's questions about Millington’s recollections of what happened that day.

"Maybe it's just me, but I just don't see the relevance of this testimony,” Fenton told the judge.

“Const. Millington is not on trial here for misuses of the Taser. He’s on trial for certain statements he made at the Braidwood inquiry.”

But Ehrcke disagreed.

“What did he know, and when did he know it ... that’s essentially the nature of the issues here," Ehrcke told Fenton.

Victim's mother in court

Dziekanski’s mother, who sat in the gallery, appeared uninterested in anything Millington said. At times, Zofia Cisowski dabbed her eyes with a tissue occasionally and stared at the floor.

Robert Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski, has been attending the perjury trial of RCMP Const. Kwesi Millington. (Curt Petrovich/CBC News)

In the past, she has provoked the sheriffs who police the court room by openly calling the officers “murderers” and “killers.” 

On Monday, Cisowski was nearly ejected after she approached Millington’s fiancée and tried to give her a finger-sized novelty stapler.

Cisowski was unrepentant.

"He's still lying,” she said of Millington. “That makes me so frustrated and almost sick.”

The trial continues on Tuesday.