A civilian inquiry can make findings of misconduct against four Mounties who Tasered a Polish immigrant at Vancouver’s airport, B.C.’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
Justice Arne Silverman rejected arguments by the officers’ lawyers that the inquiry — headed by retired judge Thomas Braidwood — does not have the right to consider allegations that the officers had acted improperly or misrepresented the facts to justify their actions.
Robert Dziekanski, 40, who was immigrating to Canada to live with his mother in Kamloops, died in the early morning of Oct. 14, 2007, after he was Tasered five times by RCMP at Vancouver International Airport.
A Victoria man captured the incident on video and its subsequent release sparked interest in the case around the world.
Commission counsel Art Vertlieb said Silverman’s decision allows Braidwood to continue his mandate for a full reporting into the circumstances of Dziekanski’s death.
“(Braidwood) may have to make findings of credibility about some of the witnesses to figure out what happened,” Vertlieb said.
“He is not assigning blame, but he does have under the Inquiry Act the right to make the finding of misconduct should it need to be made … he’ll be able to do whatever he feels appropriate given the findings that he makes.”
Walter Kosteckyj, lawyer for Dziekanski’s mother, Zofia Cisowski, said at some point there has to be a reckoning of responsibility for his client.
“She wants people to be accountable … and at the end we all want them to be held accountable. I mean, that’s what part of this process is to restore faith in how the RCMP conduct themselves — not just for my client — but to the people of British Columbia.”