July 24, 2015 - 1:02 PM
VANCOUVER - The former Mountie who was the senior officer in charge the night Robert Dziekanski was jolted with a Taser and died has been given a two-year jail term for lying to an inquiry into the death.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge found former corporal Benjamin "Monty" Robinson guilty of perjury in March, ruling he colluded with four fellow officers to make up testimony that they gave at an inquiry into Dziekanski's death.
As he sentenced Robinson, Justice Nathan Smith said perjury strikes at the heart of the justice system, which can't function if there is a suggestion the evidence police give is false.
Smith said denunciation and deterrence must be applied in the case.
Robinson, who was led away in handcuffs, also must serve one year probation and perform 240 hours of community work.
The four officers who surrounded Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport in October 2007 were tried separately.
Robinson was found guilty along with Const. Kwesi Millington, but the two other officers involved were acquitted.
The Crown had asked for a three-year prison term, while defence called for a conditional sentence for Robinson, who was convicted of obstruction of justice in a separate trial after the vehicle he was driving hit and killed a young motorcyclist in October 2008.
During the sentencing hearing in June, Robinson's lawyer called his client the poster child for failure who might be able to bring some insight to others, especially those in the First Nations community.
Robinson's troubles led the RCMP to single him out as a bad apple within its ranks.
The four officers went to Vancouver's airport on Oct. 14, 2007, after Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who spoke no English, started throwing furniture.
Within seconds of their arrival, Dziekanski was jolted several times with a Taser and died on the floor of the arrivals terminal.
The Crown claimed during the trial that the officers concocted a story to give to homicide investigators and then lied to the public inquiry to explain why their first statements didn't match with the amateur video that was later released.
During his sentencing hearing, Smith noted that all the officers made similar mistakes, including their incorrect claim that Dziekanski was wrestled to the ground. The judge said the only explanation was that the Mounties worked together on their stories.
"I simply do not believe that a police officer of his experience could make such a crucial mistake in these circumstances," Smith ruled.
Millington, was given a 30-month prison sentence in June, but has been granted bail while he appeals the conviction.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015