VANCOUVER — Two men convicted of perjury in connection with a notorious stun-gun encounter at Vancouver’s airport will have their appeals heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The court announced Thursday in Ottawa that it would hear appeals from Const. Kwesi Millington and former corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson. As is customary, the court gave no reasons for its decision to hear the cases.
Millington was sentenced to 30 months in prison for testimony he gave to an inquiry examining the October 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski, who was jolted several times with a Taser at in the arrivals area of the airport.
Robinson was sentenced to two years less a day, one year of probation and 240 hours of community service.
They were found guilty of colluding to make up testimony, but the two other officers with them that night were acquitted of the same allegations in separate trials.
Glen Orris, the lawyer for Millington, said Thursday that the decision from the Supreme Court is his client’s first break in the decade-old case.
“They obviously wanted to hear the argument that we are advancing, that the verdict basically was unfair and not based on the evidence,” he said in an interview from Vancouver
Orris said the high court has set a tentative date of Oct. 30 for the appeal.
Dziekanski’s mother said in a telephone interview from her home in Kamloops, B.C., that the decision wasn’t what she wanted to hear.
“I just want this to be over and done with, then I could cherish the memories still,” she said. “I don’t think I could ever let go … but I try my best, I keep myself busy.”
She said the news was especially difficult just days after Mother’s Day. She said in the six years she and her son were separated while she was living in Canada and he was in Poland, he would always call her on Mother’s Day.
“It is very hard for me,” she said, crying. “Even after 10 years almost, he’s gone and there is no justice for my son.”
A bystander’s video played at the public inquiry and viewed millions of times on social media showed four RCMP officers approaching a troubled Dziekanski at the airport and within minutes he was jolted and lay dead on the floor.
The officers told the inquiry they perceived Dziekanski as a threat when he picked up a stapler.
The inquiry’s commissioner, Thomas Braidwood, said in his 470-page report that the officers approached the scene as if they were responding to a “barroom brawl.” He said they failed to reassess the situation when it became clear they were dealing with a distraught traveller who didn’t speak English, rather than the drunk, violent man they’d anticipated.
Millington, who fired the Taser, and Robinson, who was the senior officer at the scene, were found guilty of colluding to make up testimony presented at the inquiry.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the perjury convictions of both men.
Beth Leighton and Terri Theodore, The Canadian Press
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