NEWS

Perjury trial of former RCMP officer Monty Robinson ends with argument for acquittal

12/23/2014 05:00 EST | Updated 02/21/2015 05:59 EST
The lawyer for one of the Mounties accused of lying at the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski, believes the Crown's case is based on shaky assumptions and out-of-context statements cherry-picked from his client's testimony.

David Crossin summed up his arguments in defence of former RCMP Corp. Monty Robinson on Monday.  

Robinson is facing one count of perjury in connection with eight alleged lies at the Braidwood Inquiry in 2009.

One concern is Robinson's answers to questions about the incident in which Dziekanski died following a struggle with police.

Robinson told investigators at the time, "I put him out".

At the inquiry more than a year later, Robinson insisted he only meant to indicate Dziekanski could have been unconscious, not that he personally had knocked him out.

"It was a clumsy utterance at the scene", Crossin told BC Supreme Court Justice Nathan Smith.

Crossin called it "an intense police incident" and at the inquiry into what happened, Robinson volunteered an explanation for what he really meant. 

However the Crown alleges Robinson was lying, just as he did when he testified that his knee was "nowhere near" Dziekanski's neck as police overpowered him. 

Prosecutors believe amateur video of the incident proves that's not true. 

However Crossin pointed out Robinson himself frequently conceded his knee was on Dziekanski's shoulder,  so his words "cannot be construed literally."

The Crown's over-arching theory is that all four officers involved in Dziekanski's death colluded to recite similar details of what happened and to exaggerate the threat Dziekanski posed in order to justify their use of force.

For instance, they all mistakenly said at the time that Dziekanski had to be wrestled to the ground. In reality he fell and the police officers testified they were mistaken. 
Crossin argued it would make no sense to concoct a story because they all knew the incident had been captured on video and there was no incentive to lie about what happened.

"There is no evidence the response at the airport was in anyway unlawful or unreasonable or unjustified or improper or was otherwise outside the bounds of police training and policy,"  Crossin said.

The Crown's position is the similar mistakes the officers made in their observations evoke a strong inference of collusion.

"It was a dynamic event", Crossin argued, "that is buttressed by the fact that many of these civilian witnesses also saw the same thing."

"But they're not trained to accurately observe and report," said Justice Smith of the witness testimony.

"These police officers were in the eye of the storm" Crossin said, noting the bystanders were not.

"They made exactly the same errors as the police officers."

The end of the trial produced no relief for Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski.

"I will be never happy again," she said outside court. "Even I cry today...it's a bad day".

Cisowski said there's no doubt in her mind Robinson and the other officers are guilty.

"They lied because they protect themselves."

Cisowski said she's aware that even if Justice Smith returns a guilty verdict against Robinson, it will not be a judgment on anything the officers did the night her son died.

One officer has already been acquitted. Cisowski isn't convinced the Crown has made it's case against Robinson.

"I prepare myself for the worst", she said.

Justice Smith will deliver his verdict Feb. 26.

MORE:cbcNews