Dziekanski’s mother hires lawyers
in Poland to investigate
charging Mounties

Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun, May 27, 2009

Zofia Cisowski, mother of Robert Dziekanski, is visibly upset
during a morning break of testimonies Monday. Photo: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun

The mother of Robert Dziekanski is now working with lawyers here and in Poland to see if criminal charges can be laid there against the four officers involved in the fatal incident at Vancouver’s airport in 2007.

Zygmunt Riddle, a West Vancouver businessman who is a friend of Dziekanski’s mother, Zofia Cisowski, said Wednesday that Cisowski has hired a lawyer in Poland and a former B.C. judge, Bill Sundhu, to investigate whether the four Mounties involved in the fatal incident can be charged in Poland.

“They are in the process of gathering some information in Poland,” Riddle explained, adding under Polish law, the government of Poland is obligated to investigate and prosecute the death of a Polish citizen abroad.

He said Sundhu will make an announcement Saturday about a new development at a fundraising dinner for Cisowski in Surrey.

“So far they are not charged,” Riddle said of the four RCMP officers who were involved in confronting and Tasering Dziekanski five times on Oct. 14, 2007 at Vancouver International Airport. He died at the scene minutes later.

Sundhu, now a Kamloops lawyer, has provided Cisowski a legal opinion that the government should review its decision last December not to charge the officers with any criminal offence, especially in light of testimony that emerged in recent months at the Braidwood inquiry, which heard its final witness Tuesday.

The inquiry will resume June 19 to hear the final arguments from lawyers.

The commissioner, retired judge Thomas Braidwood, is expected to deliver his report on the first phase of the inquiry, held last year to probe the use of Taser weapons in B.C., by June 30.

The report on the second phase of the inquiry, which started last January and probed the events surrounding Dziekanski’s death, isn’t expected to be completed until the fall.

Transcripts of the testimony heard by the inquiry are available on the website:

The inquiry was ordered by the attorney-general after a public outcry over the incident, prompted by an amateur video shot by a bystander, Paul Pritchard, that was released and posted on YouTube, attracting international attention.

One of the Vancouver lawyers involved in the inquiry, Don Rosenbloom, who represented the government of Poland, said Wednesday that Pritchard “is really the hero in this whole thing.”

He credited Pritchard, after police seized his camera at the airport and told him they would not give him a copy of the video until the investigation was completed, for hiring a lawyer and going to court to get the video released.

“The inquiry was held because there was a public outcry, because of the video,” Rosenbloom said, adding that Pritchard currently is living in Peru.