By THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER — The commissioner heading the public inquiry into Robert Dziekanski’s death can consider the conduct of four Mounties that night, a judge has concluded, rejecting the officers’ arguments that he has no jurisdiction to do so.
The officers asked B.C. Supreme Court to prevent Commissioner Thomas Braidwood from making findings of misconduct when he writes his report into their fatal confrontation with Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport on Oct. 14, 2007.
The court challenge threatened to further delay the hearings, but Justice Arne Silverman flatly rejected the officers’ claims, setting the stage for closing submissions at the inquiry to begin on schedule on Friday.
Braidwood had warned the Mounties he might consider allegations made at the inquiry that they acted improperly and then lied to justify their repeated use of the Taser.
The officers claimed the inquiry had strayed away from its original purpose, wrongly focusing almost exclusively on their actions, and had no power to make what amounted to criminal allegations of assault, obstruction and perjury.
“None of the allegations in these notices (of misconduct), if they are substantiated, come close to a finding of criminal liability,” Silverman said.
Silverman also noted the inquiry has examined a broad range of topics, from airport policies to the availability of translators to the actions of border officers.
“The inquiry does not, in my view, focus on the conduct of these officers,” he said. “Certainly that is one aspect the commissioner may look at.”
If the officers decide to appeal Silverman’s decision, it’s not clear how that might affect the timing of closing submissions,.
The lead counsel for the inquiry said he’s planning to be at the hearings on Friday.