Lawyer in B.C. Taser inquiry steps down

From the Times-Colonist

Canwest News Service July 16, 2009 10:44 AM

VANCOUVER — One of the lawyers representing the RCMP in the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski who was Tasered five times at the Vancouver airport two years ago has quietly resigned.

Helen Roberts left her job in June after an explosive e-mail was made public that suggested RCMP officers had planned on using the stun gun on the 40-year-old Polish immigrant before they arrived at the airport. Roberts later admitted that she had known about the e-mail but had not disclosed it.

Dziekanski died after the RCMP used a Taser on him in October 2007.

In mid-June, Roberts broke down in tears as she apologized to retired judge Thomas Braidwood, who is heading the inquiry, that she had received a copy of the e-mail in April but had not opened it until recently.

"I do say, it was by oversight that this occurred," she said at the time. "Canada continues, as it has all along, to fully support the work of this commission."

Before the e-mail had become public, the four officers involved in the incident had sworn under oath that they did not discuss using their Taser prior to confronting a distraught Dziekanski. The immigrant had been wandering in the secure arrivals area of the airport for more than eight hours after his flight landed unable to find his mother before he was approached by police.

The inquiry looking into the circumstances surrounding his death has adjourned until Sept. 22. Roberts has been replaced by another lawyer from the Department of Justice.

With files from Global BC

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