RCMP Constable Kwesi Millington, one of 2 Mounties found guilty (four were charged – two were acquitted: Cst. Gerry Rundel and Cst. Bill Bentley) of perjury in the Braidwood Inquiry into the tasering death of Robert Dziekanski, was sentenced on Monday, June 22, 2015. He received a 30 month (2.5) year custodial sentence, meaning that he will serve his time in a Federal Penitentiary. Next to be sentenced will be Benjamin “Monty” Robinson, who resigned from the RCMP on July 22, 2012.
In delivering his sentence, Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke dismissed Defence counsel’s request for a 1 year conditional sentence. He acknowledged that the Crown was seeking a prison term of 3 years. The maximum term of imprisonment for perjury under the Criminal Code is 14 years.
Ehrcke stated that the sentence must denounce the Constable’s actions, and deter other Officer’s from engaging in similar conduct. He noted that he decided a sentence on the higher end would be more appropriate, as Cst. Millington’s false testimony “stood in the way of getting of getting a true explanation” at the Inquiry into Dziekanski’s death.
We don’t often see many high-profile perjury cases like we have here. Over the past year or so, in Canada, the United States, and across the world, we have seen that the public’s trust in law enforcement continues to slide downwards. The result of this case is a prime example of why our suspicions surrounding the intentions of the police are indeed warranted.
But why is perjury considered to be such a serious offence by the Courts? With a maximum sentence of 14 years, it carries a higher penalty than many other obviously serious offences as defined within the Criminal Code. But it isn’t without good reason.
There is a difference between telling a lie, and telling a lie under oath. When you testify in Court proceedings, you are asked to swear, or affirm, that your testimony is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Further to that, as a Defendant, you are never compelled to testify. The choice to do so, or not do so, is one that must be discussed between you and your Vancouver criminal lawyer. Remember, when making a statement to the police, anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you in Court. This is why you should always consult experienced and seasoned counsel prior to making any admissions to law enforcement.