Friday, March 20, 2009

Running a wire on the police

The Times Colonist has been following an interesting case. Victoria police stopped a driver, in case, they said, his car was stolen.
He was difficult. They arrested him and searched his van. He had the audio record function running on his Palm Pilot during the arrest and while they searched the vehicles as he sat, handcuffed, in the back seat of the police car.
But police didn't know that until after the arresting officer had testified at the man's trial for obstructing justice.
The recording was played by defence lawyer Doug Christie (yeh, that guy). The Crown dropped the charges.
The report is here .
Click on the link to transcript of trial on the right to see what happened.
It suggests, sadly, real grounds for concerns about court cases decided on the basis of police testimony.


Anonymous said...

Gee, what a surprise, a police officer lies under oath in front of a judge! The tragic death of Robert Dzieanski at the Vancouver Airport is another example of blatant police lies.

I have a simple question, who protects us from the police?? Please don't tell me its the courts. If thats protection, where I have to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars - then our system is indeed broken and badly in need of repair.

Anonymous said...

I was more troubled with the way Chief Graham continued to deflect the issues towards the victim in this case. Rather than discipline his officers for not upholding the Charter, he chose to attack the accused.

The recent release of the Frank Paul inquiry should have raised more questions of Chief Graham. Unfortunately, the media did not follow up with these questions.

The Victoria Police continues to be a ship without any direction.

Anonymous said...

Stebih's choice of lawyers speaks volumes. Without intending this comment as justification for the police actions in either case I would observe that Stebih is obviously not the most forthcoming of citizens and wonder what axe he had to grind even before he was stopped by police in '07 and proved himself to be an unco-operative customer. I pity the poor judge who will be hearing the false arrest case - who can he believe?

DPL said...

Hey anon 7.08

The fellow's lawyer does his job. We may not like some of the people he represents but in this society everyone is innocent till proven otherwise. And let's not forget, the Police Chief had the isues against the fellow dropped. Is the Chief of Police a suspect as well in your view? So who might have been wrong?

Anonymous said...

Very typical a stay of proceedings, when the accused deserves an acquittal. A further insult to the indignity of being subject to lawlessness at the hands of those we are supposed to respect. Especially so troubling when you consider he may have been booked stripped searched and processed. Then exposed to an incarceration, pending a bail hearing.

It is s shame we can't hear the tape unless of course Mr. Christie could release it.I think we will see and hear more recorded information of this type in the future. I hope the police see that their best interest lies in using these new types of information to make the changes necessary to restore public confidence and function professionally in a modern democratic society.