A second ex-RCMP officer has been sentenced to prison for lying to a public inquiry into the tasering death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.
Former RCMP Cpl. Benjamin (Monty) Robinson was sentenced Friday to two years less a day in jail, one year probation and 240 hours of community service for his false testimony to the Braidwood Inquiry into Dziekanski’s death in Vancouver International Airport in 2007.
It follows the 30-month prison sentence handed down last month for perjury to Const. Kwesi Millington, who fired the stun gun and was found to have exaggerated the threat a stapler-brandishing Dziekanski posed to officers in the confrontation caught on cellphone video. He was granted bail while an appeal is underway.
Dziekanski wandered for hours unaided at the airport before becoming frustrated, prompting authorities there to call police.
The four officers tasered the Polish man five times quickly after arriving. He died within minutes of cardiac arrest.
No criminal charges were laid against the officers, who had been found in the public inquiry to have deliberately misrepresented what happened.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nathan Smith found Robinson colluded with other officers on what they would tell the inquiry and said a police officer failing to tell the truth strikes at the very heart of the justice system.
Dziekanski’s mother Zofia Cisowski said the sentencings bring some closure eight years after the tragedy.
“No sentence would bring my son back,” she said after the court decision.
Her lawyer, Walter Kosteckyj, said the Braidwood Inquiry and perjury proceedings would never have been necessary had the RCMP reacted appropriately to the fatality from the outset.
Instead, he noted, senior Mounties initially denied the taser was fired more than twice despite possessing the video that contradicted officers’ claims.
“The RCMP has to take a long hard look at themselves and reflect on how long this has taken and why it has taken this long,” Kosteckyj said.
“I think the public generally should question the effectiveness of the RCMP as our leading police agency and ask for more and expect more from them.”
While the maximum prison term for perjury is 14 years, no sentence handed down has ever been longer than the nine years given Air India bomb-maker Inderjit Singh Reyat in 2011.
Two other officers involved in the tragedy were acquitted of perjury.