Mounties in Robert Dziekanski case face new perjury allegation from Crown
Witness claims officers met before testifying at inquiry into Taser death
Seven months after failing to prove perjury against a Mountie for his testimony at the Braidwood inquiry, the special prosecutor in charge of the case is levelling new allegations against his fellow officers.
New indictments filed in B.C. Supreme Court against Const. Kwesi Millington and former corporal Monty Robinson allege they lied when they testified that they had not talked to the others about the case before appearing at the inquiry.
The inquiry was called after four RCMP officers confronted Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's International airport in 2007. Dziekanski died after being stunned multiple times with a Taser.
Each officer gave explanations for why their versions of what happened differed from amateur video of the incident.
And all testified that from the incident in October 2007 until their appearance at the inquiry some 16 months later, they never had conversations about what happened aside from taking part in a critical incident debriefing with a psychologist.
Inquiry commissioner Thomas Braidwood called parts of their testimony "patently unbelievable."
All four were charged with perjury.
The first officer to face trial was acquitted last July. The Crown argued Const. Bill Bentley intended to mislead the inquiry and had collaborated with his former partners to get their stories straight.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan found the evidence didn't go that far. In his decision, McEwan wrote that "there is no direct evidence as to how, or by what means Mr. Bentley and the other officers got together."
The new indictments appear to be based on fresh evidence of alleged collusion.
New witness comes forward
Documents obtained by CBC News show that following Bentley's acquittal last year, a witness came forward alleging that just prior to giving their testimony at the inquiry in 2009, all four Mounties met at her house in Richmond.
"I realized that I might know something of significance," she told the special prosecutor.
Norgard didn't go straight to police or the Crown. She called a longtime family friend Wally Oppal. In 2008, Oppal, was the B.C attorney general who called the inquiry and appointed its commissioner Thomas Braidwood.
And after hearing what Norgard had to say, Oppal sat with her while she was deposed by a lawyer with special prosecutor Richard Peck's firm.
Norgard revealed that her ex-common-law partner Brian Dietrich is Const. Bentley's cousin.
Norgard said that in January or February 2009, Dietrich told her that Bentley "wanted some privacy" for "a private conversation."
Although Norgard and Dietrich were in the midst of a bitter and acrimonious legal separation at the time, Norgard said she agreed to allow Dietrich to use the house as a meeting place.
Norgard said she was introduced to each officer when they arrived, and they sat at her kitchen table for as long as two hours before leaving. Norgard didn't hear any of their conversation because she spent the entire time in another part of the house.
‘Serious discussion,’ among Mounties alleged
Norgard acknowledged she couldn't recall a number of details.
Several weeks later, again with Oppal at her side, Norgard was interviewed by Vancouver police detectives.
Her memory appeared to have sharpened and new details emerged.
"It was a serious discussion," she told police about the alleged conversation around her kitchen table.
"It wasn't jokes and chuckles down there."
Norgard was also sure the alleged meeting took place just before the officers began testifying at the inquiry.
"I'm certain it's January or February of 2009."
When Vancouver police detectives spoke to Dietrich last fall about the allegation, he denied arranging any meeting.
"I'm supportive of my cousin," he told them. "I would not want to do anything to harm him, but I don't remember specifics about any meeting or even that the meeting occurred."
Dietrich had no comment when contacted by CBC News. Norgard could not be reached.
Tony Paisana, an associate counsel involved in the prosecution, declined to discuss the fresh allegation.
The accused and their lawyers also refused to comment, saying it would be inappropriate.
The evidence is expected to be introduced in court next month when Const. Millington faces his perjury trial. The trials for former corporal Monty Robinson and Const. Gerry Rundel are scheduled for later this year.
Rundel's indictment was not amended as it already contains a generic allegation that he lied about having no discussions with the others.
The Crown has appealed Bentley's acquittal and it's possible the introduction of new evidence could lead to a new trial.
But sources familiar with the case say Norgard has her dates wrong and that the four officers did meet together, but only after they had finished testifying.
Sources tell CBC News that work records and calendar appointments will raise serious doubts about whether all four Mounties were even in the same city when they're alleged to have met.
Oppal would not comment on the matter, except to say that his involvement was "irrelevant and coincidental."