Tasered senior angry at court delays
Keith Booker isn't the only one frustrated it's taken nearly three years to bring his case to trial — a defence lawyer for one of the officers tells court the case has been delayed long enough to suggest a potential Charter violation. (KEVIN HILL/ 24 HOURS)
Retired salesman Keith Booker was grabbed by the neck, thrown to the floor, Tasered and kneed by two police officers who were charged with assault following an incident at Surrey Memorial Hospital, a Crown lawyer told court Monday.
RCMP Const. Mitchell Spears and Transit Police Const. Ken Jansen are both charged with assault. Spears is also charged with assault with a weapon.
On April 22, 2010, Spears arrested Booker after receiving a call from the latter’s landlord about a knife, the court heard. Booker, now 77, was arrested under the Mental Health Act and taken to the hospital.
But the Crown considers him too “unreliable” to give witness testimony.
Crown lawyer Janet Dickie told the judge a nurse had just taken a blood sample from his patient when he heard a commotion in an interview room, discovering Spears, Jansen and Booker inside.
“Amongst the things he sees is that Mr. Booker now has an injury to his head, which ultimately required stitches. The other officer, who we say is Const. Jansen, was knee-striking Mr. Booker several times,” she told the court, adding Spears zapped the man shortly afterward.
There was also video of the incident, though its quality — since it records at slow frames and only when there’s motion — is in question.
Defence lawyer David Butcher, representing Jansen, applied for the charges to be stayed as the case took too long to come to trial. The application will be heard through Tuesday. Butcher also questioned whether Booker, the only person to have seen the full course of events, fully recalls that day.
“At the end of the day, we had a delay … of 29 months and 16 days,” Butcher said, adding the alleged victim also wasn’t interviewed until eight months after.
Booker, a pensioner who lives alone, expressed his frustration with the delays outside court. He’s also seeking to hire a lawyer for civil action.
“I had a concussion worse than (hockey star) Sidney Crosby,” he said. “I’m more frustrated that they put it off and put it off. Now they’re coming up with the idea that they want it all thrown out.”