RCMP can still be held accountable in Dziekanski death: Wally Oppal

B.C.’s attorney general has claimed that four RCMP members who used a taser on Robert Dziekanski can still be held accountable, even though they won’t be charged with criminal wrongdoing.

The four Richmond RCMP officers who appear in this video will not be charged in the October 17, 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski.

Wally Oppal said in a phone interview with the Straight that the officers will now be able to testify before the Braidwood Commission of Inquiry, which has a mandate to provide the public with a complete record of events surrounding Dziekanski’s death.

“I know it’s difficult to understand all of this because I know people think, ”˜Geez, we saw that on the video and surely somebody must be held accountable’,” Oppal said, “but accountability can be achieved outside a criminal courtroom and in the process of the inquiry.”

The criminal justice branch issued a statement today (December 12) reporting that tasers were fired at Dziekanski five times on October 14, 2007. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The statement also said that Dziekanski’s death was the result of “sudden death following restraint”. A forensic pathologist found “no definitive cause of death” and there is insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against the officers involved, according to the statement.

The investigation for criminal charges was conducted by the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Team. Asked if he was concerned that there could be a conflict of interest with the RCMP investigating its own actions, Oppal replied, “I think that is something that judge Braidwood will be able to tell us.”

The Braidwood Inquiry is headed by former B.C. Supreme Court judge Thomas R. Braidwood. It is scheduled to reconvene on January 19, 2009.

You can download the Ministry of Attorney General’s seven-page statement here.

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