NEWS

Dziekanski officer pleads not guilty in perjury trial

06/10/2013 05:48 EDT | Updated 08/10/2013 05:12 EDT
A B.C. RCMP officer has pleaded not guilty at the start of his perjury trial, which relates to the death of a Polish immigrant at Vancouver International Airport six years ago.

Const. Bill Bentley was among four officers who confronted Robert Dziekanski in October 2007, stunning him multiple times with a Taser within seconds of arriving on the scene in response to reports of a man throwing furniture.

Dziekanski died on the airport floor. A coroner's report found he suffered a fatal heart attack and deemed the death a homicide.

At the trial in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, the Crown put forward a list of six occasions where Bentley is accused of lying while under oath and making false statements when questioned about apparent errors in his statements to homicide investigators.

Bentley testified that he was never given the opportunity to consult a lawyer before he spoke to investigators.

At a public inquiry into the airport incident, the Mounties' versions of what happened were at odds with amateur video showing what took place.

Inquiry commissioner Thomas Braidwood called their explanations "self-serving," "patently unbelievable" and "deliberate misrepresentations of what happened made for the purpose of justifying their actions."

A special prosecutor indicted the officers for perjury, citing 28 allegations of deliberate attempts to mislead the inquiry.

But a confidential legal opinion obtained by CBC News suggests the perjury cases against the officers may be difficult to prove.

- Dziekanski officers' perjury cases may be difficult to prove

Taser use by police in B.C. has fallen 87 per cent since Dziekanski's death six years ago.

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