VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A former Canadian law enforcement officer who was in charge when police used an electroshock weapon on a Polish immigrant, causing his death, was sentenced Friday to a two-year jail term for perjury during a public inquiry into the incident.
Former corporal Benjamin Robinson was found guilty of perjury in March, with a court ruling that he colluded with four fellow officers to make up testimony during an inquiry into Robert Dziekanski’s death in 2007. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled Friday to send Robinson to prison for two years.
Justice Nathan Smith said during the sentencing that perjury strikes at the heart of the justice system, which can’t function if there is a suggestion the evidence police give is false.
Robinson, who was led away in handcuffs, also must serve one year probation and perform 240 hours of community work.
All four officers involved in the case were tried separately. Robinson was found guilty along with Const. Kwesi Millington, who was given a 30-month prison sentence in June. He has since been granted bail while he appeals the conviction. The two other officers involved were acquitted.
The four officers went to Vancouver’s airport on Oct. 14, 2007, after Dziekanski, who spoke no English, started throwing furniture.
Within seconds of their arrival, Dziekanski was jolted several times with a Taser and died on the floor of the arrivals terminal.
The prosecution claimed during the trial that the officers concocted a story to give to homicide investigators and then lied to the public inquiry to explain why their first statements didn’t match with the amateur video that was released.
During his sentencing hearing, Smith said that all the officers made similar mistakes, including their incorrect claim that Dziekanski was wrestled to the ground. The judge said the only explanation was that the Mounties worked together on their stories.