Lengthy delays derail charges against cops
RCMP Const. Mitchell Spears and Transit Police Const. Ken Jansen were both charged with assault after an incident at Surrey Memorial Hospital with patient Keith Booker. (MICHAEL MUI/ 24 HOURS)
Two police officers charged after an incident with an elderly man that court heard involved a Taser, won’t have to face trial since the case was delayed too long.
RCMP Const. Mitchell Spears and Transit Police Const. Ken Jansen were both charged with assault after an incident at Surrey Memorial Hospital with patient Keith Booker that was witnessed by a nurse, court heard previously.
Spears, the officer who arrested Booker on April 22, 2010 and took him to hospital, was also charged with assault with a weapon.
B.C. Provincial Court judge Ronald Lamperson decided Wednesday all charges in the case, which saw an “institutional delay” of 22 months, would be stayed.
The delay was partly because the Crown wanted an additional two expert witnesses to take the stand shortly before an initial trial date last summer, a decision it could have announced sooner, Lamperson noted.
“In my view, one can expect the difficulties experienced by a police officer as a result of having criminal charges pending over a long period of time would generally be more significant than those experienced by the average person charged,” the judge said, noting both officers are currently suspended from working.
“I find a 22-month delay in this case is not reasonable.”
Outside the courthouse, the 77-year-old Booker — who hasn’t been allowed in the hearings since he could be called as a witness — told reporters he’s “disgusted” at the whole process.
“I’m not allowed to sit in there. I’m not allowed to know what’s going on,” he said. “I’m a senior citizen on my own … taking on the legal system.”