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Taser International challenge should be dismissed, B.C. government argues

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It’s TASER vs BC, various doctors, the weight of Canadian public opinion, and the consensus of most studies published in the Canadian media. It’s TASER vs Canada’s alternative take on the TASER conducted energy weapon as revealed by the courageous cameraphone footage of one Paul Pritchard. So why not send a hotshot law team up to Canada to argue against truth and make fools out of themselves? Could be fun. But BC wants to nip this in the bud, and TASER will whine and retreat if they know what’s good for them.

Related: RCMP gives cash settlement to Taser victim’s mother | RCMP plans dramatic changes to Taser policy | Scathing report concludes RCMP used TASERs prematurely in Vancouver airport death | Taser inquiry wraps up in Vancouver with legal squabbles | Canadian police adopt new TASER directive | RCMP actions ‘gratuitous, ‘violent,’ BC needs own police lawyer tells inquiry | Braidwood inquiry reopens, RCMP bickers over preplanned TASER use | TASER files court motion to quash Braidwood probe’s findings | Mounties have no choice but to comply with TASER ruling | Justice says changes needed in Taser use | Mounties discussed Tasing Dziekanski prior to altercation | Judge: B.C. taser probe can rule on Mountie misconduct issue | Mounties want to bar Taser inquiry from finding misconduct | RCMP spokesman told to hold off correcting false details of Dziekanski incident, inquiry hears | RCMP supervising officer contradicts earlier testimony in Dziekanski inquiry | RCMP to face no charges in case of TASERed Polish immigrant: Report | Mountie involved in fatal crash was supervisor at time of airport Taser death | Perjury: Is it different for cops? | Mounties censor Taser report | Witness blames RCMP, Vancouver airport for death of Tasered man

The Canadian Press
April 12, 2010

The company that manufactures Tasers has no more right to dictate regulations for their use than cigarette makers do over second-hand smoke regulations, says the B.C. government.

But Craig Jones, a lawyer for the province, told a B.C. Supreme Court justice Monday that if the company is successful with its application to quash the findings of a public inquiry, it would be akin to giving Taser International that power.

The province is asking the court to toss Taser’s court action against a report prompted by the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport.

The report released last year after the first phase of the inquiry by former judge Thomas Braidwood found that shock weapons pose a risk of serious injury or death.

It set out recommendations for their use and cautioned against multiple stuns. Both the B.C. Solicitor General and the RCMP endorsed the recommendations.

But the Arizona-based weapons manufacturer alleges bias and even dishonesty on the part of some witnesses led to that conclusion.

Jones told Justice Robert Sewell that under the law, the commissioner was not allowed to make findings of misconduct in the first phase of what is a two-phase inquiry. The first phase looked at Taser use in general by law enforcement agencies in British Columbia, while the second examined Dziekanski’s October 2007 death specifically.

Because the commissioner did not make any findings of misconduct, the manufacturer has no right to the court action, he said.

“Taser’s assertion of harm to its reputation remains without any evidence whatsoever,” Jones said.

Jones said the company’s main complaint is that it disagrees with the findings.

“It continues to dispute that there is a risk – however small – associated with Taser use,” he said.

Dziekanski died in October 2007, during a confrontation with RCMP.

Police had been summoned after an agitated Dziekanski began throwing furniture around, and within seconds of the four officers’ arrival, he had been jolted several times with a Taser.

The would-be migrant from Poland died on the floor of the airport.

David Neave, the lawyer for Taser, said the commission findings clearly affect the reputation and commercial interests of Taser.

The company had the right to reply before the findings were released but was not given the chance, he said.

“There was a high degree of procedural fairness owed to Taser in the circumstances,” Neave told the court.

“There’s simply no doubt this commission is exclusively focused on my client and the safety and efficacy of the Taser.”

Taser CEO Rick Smith did testify in front of the commission but the company was given no opportunity to react to the report’s findings.

“The right to procedural fairness was breached,” Neave said.

But Jones replied that Taser had been monitoring the hearing process, reading the transcripts, assessing the experts who made presentations and telling the commission who else it should be talking to, in order to provide balance.

“It’s like saying my dog wasn’t monitoring the neighbour’s cat as it crossed lawn,” he said.

The province said a successful court challenge by Taser would undermine the regulations the government routinely puts in place on product use, citing Health Canada regulations to limit second-hand smoke in the work place.

“Could the tobacco companies who disagree with the government about the risks of second-hand smoke really have the right of (a stay) with respect to Health Canada studies?” Jones asked.

He said there would be no end to court applications by manufacturers if that were allowed.

He called Taser’s application to have the findings quashed both “offensive and abusive.”

The company’s allegation of dishonesty focuses on Dr. Keith Chambers, a physician who helped the commissioner interpret much of the medical information submitted as evidence.

Chambers’ lawyer, John Hunter, told the court that the company’s application is “pure intimidation” and an attempt by Taser to silence to anyone willing to stand up to them.

Taser has a history of aggressive legal action in defending its products and last year boasted that it had won its 100th dismissal of a liability lawsuit.

The report from the second phase of the inquiry hasn’t been released, but is expected to be out by this summer.

Justice Sewell reserved his ruling Monday and didn’t say when that decision would be released.

Source | See also under Tasers: Taser use by Montreal police focus of hearings | RCMP gives cash settlement to Taser victim’s mother | Cop Cleared By Grand Jury For Tasering Great Grandmother During Speeding Stop | Officers suspended after using Taser on 10-year-old | Ontario report rewrites stun gun rules, somewhat | UK: Police Taser use ‘doubled’ in third quarter of 2009 | Ontario stun gun review complete: report | Chicago police expanding Taser use | RCMP to test Taser cameras | RCMP plans dramatic changes to Taser policy | Regina police probe RCMP torture claims | Taser inquiry can rule on RCMP misconduct | U.S. ruling limits how police can use Tasers | RCMP had no grounds to use Taser on N.W.T. girl: report | Scathing report concludes RCMP used TASERs prematurely in Vancouver airport death | U.S. police taser 10-year-old | Death linked to ‘excited delirium’: coroner | US Cop Tasers and Arrests a 10-Year Old Girl For Throwing a Fit | RCMP defend Taser use on girl, 16 | Taser inquiry wraps up in Vancouver with legal squabbles | Canadian police adopt new TASER directive | PQ wants probe after Taser used on mentally challenged man | RCMP actions ‘gratuitous, ‘violent,’ BC needs own police lawyer tells inquiry | RCMP tests Tasers that record video | Braidwood inquiry reopens, RCMP bickers over preplanned TASER use | Merced police used TASER on unarmed, legless man in a wheelchair | UK: Police may be issued with new high-power Taser | TASER files court motion to quash Braidwood probe’s findings | Pregnant mother tasered at baptism party | TASER introduces 3-shot semiauto | Mounties have no choice but to comply with TASER ruling | Justice says changes needed in Taser use | US Lawsuit: Cops tasered 3 kids in shelter, threatened one with sodomy | Officer denies uttering sexual threat before lethal TASERing | Latest TASER victim looked ’scared’ as officer approached with knife | Safety Tests MIA for Taser’s Shocking New Shotgun | Mounties discussed Tasing Dziekanski prior to altercation | UK Police watchdog to investigate Taser arrest, beating posted on YouTube | Judge: B.C. taser probe can rule on Mountie misconduct issue | New video shows officer shove, then taser 72-year-old great grandmother | Mounties want to bar Taser inquiry from finding misconduct | US: Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation’s first | RCMP halts use of malfunctioning Tasers after B.C. decision | Taser inquiry into Dziekanski’s death hears last witness | Dziekanski’s death following Taser jolts no coincidence: expert | Dziekanski ‘would not have died’ if spared Taser, expert tells inquiry | TASER’s medical expert says weapon didn’t cause Dziekanski’s death | RCMP didn’t tell pathologist Dziekanski suffered multiple TASER stuns, inquiry hears | RCMP spokesman told to hold off correcting false details of Dziekanski incident, inquiry hears | RCMP ’sorry’ for errors in taser briefings | MPs grill top Mountie on tasers | RCMP shocked 16 people five times or more last year | RCMP still uses Tasers too often, watchdog finds | RCMP credibility battered by TASER inquiry | Quebec orders police to turn in Tasers | RCMP softened Taser-use restrictions | RCMP supervising officer contradicts earlier testimony in Dziekanski inquiry | Boys, 15, Tasered by police, stats show | Toronto police used Tasers 367 times in 2008: statistics | Stun gun shock to head may cause seizures, doctors warn | TASER launches new headcam for police — with ‘privacy mode’ | TASERed immigrant ‘had the stapler open… he was in a combative stance’ | Dziekanski’s ‘combative behaviour’ justified Taser jolt: Mountie | Witness alters story but maintains Dziekanski attempted to staple RCMP | Airport refused help from Polish-speaking employee before Taser death | Dziekanski didn’t wield stapler before RCMP fired Taser, inquiry hears | Selkirk teen sues RCMP over stun gun allegations | Ban stun gun use on young people, Ontario child advocate urges | Emergency call taken out of context: airport Taser death witness | RCMP destroyed evidence, charges dismissed in second torture case for officers | U.S. study raises more questions about TASER safety | Second phase of Taser inquiry begins in Vancouver | RCMP watchdog launches new Taser probe around deaths | Police forces withhold information on Taser use from public: audit | US police could get ‘pain beam’ weapons | No charges to be laid against RCMP officers in airport Taser death | RCMP to face no charges in case of TASERed Polish immigrant: Report | Taser International disputes CBC/Radio-Canada testing as ‘flawed’ | Red Deer man shot by Taser had pre-existing heart condition: doctor | Cops Taser Drowned Dad’s Distraught Son | Amnesty urges moratorium on Taser use after CBC/Radio-Canada probe | Some tested Tasers fire stronger current than company says: CBC/Radio-Canada probe | RCMP Investigates, Clears Self of Wrongdoing in Case of TASERed Inuvik Girl | US Cops Tase 54 Year Old Woman For Sitting In Wrong Seat At Football Game | Prison service ices TASER pilot project | B.C. man dies after Taser used during Calgary arrest | Mountie involved in fatal crash was supervisor at time of airport Taser death | Drug abuser executed by TASER blasts — TASER toll stands at 25 | Mountie arrested in fatal crash present at airport Taser death | Inquiry into Vancouver airport Taser death put off 2nd time | Tasers being used for pain compliance during interrogation, suit alleges | Family sues police claiming Taser raid on autistic son in own bedroom | Naked Langley, B.C., robbery suspect dies after Taser jolt | Tasering of mom with baby ‘necessary’ in order to take child, police say | Brampton man is 23rd Canadian TASER death; police duly investigate themselves | RCMP didn’t study Taser use enough: Report | Probe into tasering of teenaged girl reopened | Police Taser and abuse suspect, lie on stand, man still convicted | RCMP should end use of Tasers: Zaccardelli | Police delay report on Taser until 2009 | Mounties pinned me down in cell and tasered me, Manitoba girl says | 21st Canadian TASER death occurs in Winnipeg alleyway | RCMP e-mails throw Dziekanski Taser probe into question, critics say | TASER bracelets considered for airline passengers | Taser use could put police under fire | Inquiry says ‘insidious’ TASERs being used as tool of convenience, should be reclassified, restricted under criminal code | Man dies in custody after Taser incident involving Ontario police | Ban Tasers if RCMP doesn’t curb use by year’s end: Commons committee | One-third of people shot by Taser need medical attention: probe | RCMP firing Tasers multiple times at subjects, probe reveals | U.S. jury shocks Taser, investors, with rare loss in court | Youth Worker Subjected to Warrantless Raid on Secret Evidence | Tasering violated suspect’s rights, judge rules | RCMP willing to change Taser policy, inquiry told | Tasers pose risk to heart, MDs testify | ‘Peel and Stick’ Tasers Electrify Riot Control | Canadian police have been brainwashed, Taser inquiry told | Mounties censor Taser report | Taser group’s chair to defend stun guns at public inquiry | RCMP release heavily censored incident report about Dziekanski | Inquiry examining Taser use, Dziekanski’s death begins Monday | Taser use doubles, report shows | Chicago study calls Taser’s safety claims into question | Tasers: the next generation | Witness blames RCMP, Vancouver airport for death of Tasered man | Officer injured in Taser demonstration

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3 Responses to “Taser International challenge should be dismissed, B.C. government argues”

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