VANCOUVER – A judge has refused to throw out a perjury charge against a Mountie accused of lying about what happened when a Polish immigrant was stunned by a Taser and died at Vancouver International Airport.
Const. Gerry Rundel was one of four officers involved in the October 2007 confrontation with Robert Dziekanski that resulted in his death.
A public inquiry was held in 2009, and each officer was called to testify about the high-profile incident. Entered as evidence were notes made by the officers, their testimony, and video of the encounter from a bystander.
The Crown subsequently brought charges against all of the officers, alleging they made up a story for investigators together and then lied at the inquiry to further mask their deception.
Crown lawyers presented evidence relating to six particular instances they contend proves their case, court heard on Wednesday.
But Rundel’s lawyer disputed the claim with a broad application to withdraw the charge and end the trial, arguing the prosecutors’ evidence was too flimsy to support conviction.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper told court in her oral ruling that the motion required her to engage in limited weighing of the evidence, but not conclude whether the accused is guilty, draw factual inferences or assess the accused’s credibility.
“I have found that there is some evidence in respect of each (alleged lie) that a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could convict,” she said in summary.
The Crown has argued there were discrepancies in Rundel’s statements describing how Dziekanski wielded a stapler before he was stunned — above his head, rather than at waist height — among the evidence they presented, Gropper said.
The altercation between the RCMP and Dziekanski began about 10 hours after the 40-year-old man arrived from Poland, had trouble leaving the international terminal, and then began throwing furniture.
His mother, Zofia Cisowski, has repeatedly bussed back and forth from her Kamloops, B.C., home to the trials of the officers in Vancouver.
She said she’s still waiting for closure after the tragedy that has now consumed her life for more than seven years.
“If I stay at home … I’m so nervous and so depressed. It’s better if I’m here,” she said outside court. “I need justice, for sure, for my son and for all Canadian people. Something better in the future.”
Another judge previously dismissed a similar bid by Const. Kwesi Millington for acquittal based on lack of evidence. His trail is ongoing.
Rundel is the final officer to be tried on the perjury charge.
Const. Bill Bentley was acquitted of the same charge last year, but the Crown is appealing. Former corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson is awaiting a verdict.
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