Is special prosecutor Richard Peck
whitewashing ex-prosecutor
Stan Lowe?

Lowe’s Dziekanski decision could get in the way
of his appointment to the IIO. Unless, maybe,
somebody comes up with some revisionist history

July 1, 2010

Richard Peck has been appointed special prosecutor in the inexcusably long, slow process of possibly, maybe, someday holding the Dziekanski death squad accountable. Although status quo sources speak highly of Peck’s abilities, something has gone wrong already. His first public statement implies that Stan Lowe and the Criminal Justice Branch might have been justified in exonerating the four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death.

Lowe is now B.C.’s police complaint commissioner and a contender for the job of running the province’s new Independent Investigation Office.

According to the Vancouver Province, “Peck said he now has the benefit of ‘factual material that was not available to the branch at the time... including but not limited to expert video analysis and expert opinions relating to the reasonableness of the escalation and de-escalation of force.’”

Not available to the branch? More likely all the information was available but Lowe and the other Crown attorneys weren’t interested.

Here’s a response from Walter Kosteckyj, lawyer for Dziekanski’s mother, Zofia Cisowski, quoted in the same Province story:

“What always mystified me was that the [Criminal Justice] branch had the benefit of the [Paul] Pritchard video and the officers’ conflicting statements, yet they never re-questioned the four officers.”

Columnist Paul Willcocks notes that Peck “is not referring to newly discovered evidence or information that was beyond the reach of the criminal justice branch when it decided against charges. Which raises the obvious question: Why did prosecutors and senior lawyers in the Attorney General’s Ministry make a decision on charges without those expert opinions?”

An obvious question indeed. But why does Peck say the information was “not available to the branch at the time”?

Lowe was appointed B.C.’s police complaint commissioner one week after announcing that he and his Criminal Justice Branch colleagues had cleared the four Mounties. Now, in obvious contravention of Thomas Braidwood’s recommendations, the B.C. government is considering giving Lowe jurisdiction over the new Independent Investigation Office.

That would defeat Braidwood’s intentions entirely. Lowe and his crew of ex-cops are much too close to the police and they answer to nobody. Lowe’s Dziekanski decision is just one indication of the problem, but it’s potentially the most damaging to Lowe, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and the people who want them to run the IIO.

Is Peck making excuses for Lowe and the others involved in the CJB decision? If so, why — because of a professional bond? Or because he’s been asked to help polish Lowe’s tarnished image?

That’s just speculation but it’s plausible, especially since the BC Liberals are talking about putting Lowe in charge of the new IIO.

And, by the way, there’s no indication that the NDP would object.

May 4, 2011 update:

This guy is supposed to be impartial?

Richard Peck has dragged out his Dziekanski review
for nearly a year. Meanwhile he supported the Criminal Justice Branch decision
to defend police misconduct in Frank Paul’s death. More...
May 6, 2011 update:

Richard Peck sidesteps the central issue

The Dziekanski death squad will be charged with
perjury, not manslaughter. Among other things,
that lets Stan Lowe off the hook. More...
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