Benjamin Robinson v. Her Majesty the Queen

(British Columbia) (Criminal) (As of Right / By Leave)




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Criminal law – Perjury – Unreasonable verdict – Motive – Issue estoppel – Whether fact that applicant knew his conduct would be examined could support inference that he had motive to lie – Whether findings and conclusions in other officers’ cases could be used to determine whether verdict in this case was unreasonable.

Following a public inquiry into the death of Mr. Robert Dziekanski, a visitor from Poland who was tasered by RCMP officers at the Vancouver International Airport and who was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, the applicant, along with three other RCMP officers involved in the incident, were charged with perjury and tried in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The trial judge summarized the Crown’s allegations against the applicant as follows:

The Crown contends that [the applicant] and his fellow officers set out to mislead investigators with exaggerated accounts of Mr. Dziekanski’s actions in an effort to maximize the threat he purportedly posed. Then, at the Inquiry, when faced with [a bystander’s] video that demonstrated the inaccuracy of those accounts, the Crown says [the applicant] lied under oath in an attempt to justify his use of force and to explain the strikingly similar, but wrong, versions of events he and his fellow officers all initially provided to [investigators]. [At para. 21]

The applicant and another officer were convicted The other two officers were acquitted. The applicant appealed his conviction, arguing that the verdict was unreasonable and that a miscarriage of justice had occurred because the trial judge misapprehended certain evidence. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

March 20, 2015
Supreme Court of British Columbia

25753, 2015 BCSC 433
Appellant convicted of perjury
January 11, 2017
Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Vancouver)

CA42963, 2017 BCCA 6
Appeal dismissed