Taser not responsible for airport death, lawyer argues
A lawyer for the manufacturer of the Taser stun gun argued Tuesday that the device did not cause the 2007 death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.
David Neave, in his final submission to an inquiry into Dziekanski's death at Vancouver International Airport, said Dziekanski suffered from stress, fatigue and alcohol withdrawal -- and would have died whether he was Tasered five times or not.
"We say it is time this uninformed speculation about the role the Taser device may have had in this case be dispelled, and the attack on Taser's reputation end," Neave said.
A Mountie used a Taser on Dziekanski as many as five times after responding to calls of an unruly person at the airport's arrivals area.
Taser International says there is no objective evidence that Dziekanski's encounter with RCMP officers caused his death.
But at Tuesday's hearing, a lawyer for the Dziekanski family pointed out that the company recently issued a bulletin to officers advising them to avoid shocks to the arms and chest.
Walter Kosteckyj said the warning is proof the manufacturer now admits Tasers can adversely affect the heart.
"We should have conducted our own independent testing. That should have been done by the federal government before they allowed this weapon into the country. And they never did it," he said.
Last week, the RCMP and several other police forces said they plan to follow the new guidelines.
Inquiry Commissioner Thomas Braidwood said Tuesday afternoon that his report on Dziekanski's death will be ready by early 2010.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger and The Canadian Press