06/09/2013 01:39 EDT | Updated 08/09/2013 05:12 EDT

Bill Bentley Perjury Trial: Mountie Tried Over Taser Inquiry Testimony


VANCOUVER - Const. Bill Bentley stands trial beginning Monday on charges of perjury for his testimony at a public inquiry into Robert Dziekanski's death at Vancouver's airport. Here are some facts about the case:

Robert Dziekanski's death: The Polish immigrant was moving to Canada to live with his mother. Dziekanski, who spoke no English, spent nearly 10 hours in Vancouver's airport, lost and unable to communicate with anyone. He became distraught and started throwing furniture, prompting bystanders to call 911. Four RCMP officers responded, and within seconds of arriving, one of the officers stunned Dziekanski repeatedly with a Taser. He died on the airport floor.

Aftermath: Several weeks after Dziekanski's death, a video shot by a witness named Paul Pritchard emerged. The video appeared to contradict the official story from the RCMP, showing Dziekanski calm with his arms at his side as police officers arrived. The video touched off a fierce debate about the RCMP's response and Taser use in general, prompting the B.C. government to call a public inquiry.

Public inquiry: The commission was overseen by retired judge Thomas Braidwood and was held in two phases: the first, in 2008, examined Taser use; the second, in 2009, investigated the circumstances of Dziekanski's death. Braidwood released his final report from the second phase in June 2010.

The officers' testimony: Bentley, Const. Kwesi Millington, Const. Gerry Rundell and Cpl. Benjamin Robinson all testified at the inquiry, each telling the commissioner Dziekanski was stunned because the officers believed he was about to attack them with a stapler.

Perjury charges: A special prosecutor approved perjury charges against all four officers in May 2011. Bentley is the first to stand trial, in front of a judge. The remaining three are expected to face separate jury trials in November of this year and February 2014. All four have pleaded not guilty.

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