RCMP officer convicted of perjury in Robert Dziekanski Taser case loses appeal
In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel tossed out all of Kwesi
Millington’s arguments and upheld his 30-month prison sentence in the case
of Robert Dziekanski.
Kwesi Millington claimed the lower-court judge made numerous errors in finding
him guilty of perjury for testimony he gave at the inquiry investigating the
death of the Polish migrant in October 2007. (DARRYL
DYCK / THE
CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)
Thu., July 14, 2016
VANCOUVER—The RCMP officer who jolted Robert Dziekanski several times at
Vancouver’s airport and then lied about it to an inquiry has lost his appeal
in British Columbia’s highest court.
Kwesi Millington claimed the
lower-court judge made numerous errors in finding him guilty of perjury for
testimony he gave at the inquiry investigating the death of the Polish
migrant in October 2007.
In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel at the British Columbia Court
of Appeal tossed out all of Millington’s arguments.
All four officers who confronted the distraught man at Vancouver’s airport
were charged with perjury. Two were acquitted of the charge, while
Millington and former Mountie Benjamin (Monty) Robinson were convicted.
The Crown claimed in separate trials that the officers colluded over what to
say about the confrontation because their stories were all similar, despite
video evidence to the contrary.
Millington’s appeal was based on numerous conclusions by the trial judge
over the bystander’s video, the questions of collusion, the exclusion of
expert evidence about the impact of stressful and fast-moving events, and
the decision to allow the Crown to pursue the allegation that the officers
conspired on their stories.
In a written decision released Thursday, the panel concluded the trial judge
reached the correct verdict and thoroughly analyzed the issue around
Millington’s motive to lie.
The motive “related to whether Const. Millington would be forced to admit at
the inquiry that he had no justification . . . for Tasering Mr. Dziekanski
for a second time when he was already on the ground,” Justice David Harris
said in the ruling.
The officers were called to the airport about a distraught man at the
arrivals terminal. Just seconds after Dziekanski was confronted he was
jolted several times with the Taser and died on the floor.
A bystander’s video showed Dziekanski holding up a stapler, which the
officers all told the public inquiry posed a threat.
The Crown claimed that evidence and many other instances proved the officers
colluded, but separate courts acquitted two other officers.
“It may seem surprising, indeed troubling, that different courts can reach
different results on what superficially appear to be similar or identical
allegations, especially where the evidence is substantially the same in the
different cases,” the decision said.
“It must be remembered that criminal responsibility is individual and is to
be assessed on the evidence led in relation to a particular accused.”
Const. Bill Bentley, who was acquitted, didn’t testify at his trial and the
issue was whether he perjured himself at the inquiry, when he said he
couldn’t remember what he discussed with fellow officers, Harris said.
Millington did testify at his trial and said he didn’t discuss the details
of the incident with the three other officers before providing a statement,
the ruling said.
The RCMP didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Millington’s
status with the force.
He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, while Robinson was handed just
under two years in jail. Robinson, who quit the force just before he was
sentenced in July 2012, is also appealing and his case is still before the
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Most of the time, police are encouraged to lie, fabricate and, commit
perjury to sanitize the record, recreate history because the true facts do
not fit what they wanted to see. Such is the classic example of abuse of
power by anyone with absolute power especially the Judiciary, public
officials or police who, have official encouragement to engage in crimes
against the administration of justice.
In this case, Millington was protecting himself as well as the RCMP. It's
amazing that this case was ever prosecuted.
Ottawa Mens Centre