[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]
SARNIA -- An OPP officer was branded a liar Thursday by the Crown attorney during the officer's testimony at the trial of Acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane, charged in the death of native protester Dudley George.
"Sir, you are under oath right now, and I'm going to suggest you're lying," Crown attorney Ian Scott told Const. Mark Beauchesne when he stood behind testimony that Deane had asked him during a skirmish with natives if he had seen "the guy with the gun."
"It's a complete coincidence, that this statement, that's not in your notes, that's not logical because you didn't follow it up, it's just a coincidence that it supports Deane's testimony?" Scott asked.
SAW MAN WITH RIFLE: Deane, charged with criminal negligence causing death, earlier testified he shot a man aiming a rifle at police, and a few moments later, he asked Beauchesne if he had seen the man.
Beauchesne said "a lot" of details from the night of the Sept. 6, 1995 shooting are not in his notes because so much happened. He said he did not react to Deane's news there was a man with a gun because Deane used the past tense and Beauchesne assumed the threat had passed.
The two were part of an eight-member tactics and rescue unit assigned to provide support for a 32-member crowd management unit which marched down the road to Ipperwash Provincial Park, the site of a native protest. After natives and the CMU officers battled, a bus and car drove out of the park toward police. In the confusion, seven police officers opened fire and George was killed.
"Your whole raison d'etre was to be there to look for guys with guns," Scott told Beauchesne. "You had a reliable source, and what more reliable source can there be than a trained officer, who asked, 'did you see the guy with the gun?' " Scott said. "But you made no follow up?"
Answered Beauchesne: "There was an assumption the guy wasn't standing in the bushes next to us."
JUST SAID 'HI': Beauchesne testified the last time he spoke to Deane was on Wednesday to say "hi."
"Did you talk about the evidence you were going to give today? ... Have you ever talked (with Deane) about your evidence?" Scott asked.
"No," Beauchesne answered.
Before the officer left the witness stand, defence lawyer Norm Peel asked him: "In all the years you've been an OPP officer, have you ever had the insult before of being accused of being a liar in the courtroom?"
"No, sir," Beauchesne answered.
Staff Sgt. Kent Skinner, who commanded the TRU team that night, testified that as soon as the officers returned to the tactical operations centre near the park, Deane reported to him he had shot at a native man aiming a gun and had seen him fall.
But in cross-examination, Scott introduced Skinner's notes from the incident and his duty report, neither of which mentioned Deane reporting he shot a native man with a gun.
NOT PUT IN HIS NOTES: "My recollection is that he told me he shot an armed person," Skinner said. "But you didn't put it in your notes," said Scott.
"No, I didn't," Skinner said.
"I'm suggesting you would have run to Insp. Carson (Skinner's superior officer) and said, 'we have a huge problem. One of my officers shot an armed native'," said Scott. "I'm going to suggest to you you never told Insp. Carson anything about Deane shooting an armed native."
"I believe I did," Skinner answered.
STATEMENT: Scott read from a statement Insp. John Carson made to the OPP with special investigations unit investigators present.
Carson's statement said shots had been exchanged and it was "unknown at that time if anyone had been struck out of the native group."
"Until it was confirmed (the native man) was hit, we didn't know for sure... I can't recall if I told (Carson) (Deane) hit him," said Skinner. He said he reported to Carson which TRU team officers had fired their weapons and at what.
Skinner also testified that although all radio communications during an operation like the one Sept. 6, 1995 are supposed to be taped, an officer told him about 20 minutes after the skirmish the tape machine hadn't been on. Skinner testified that human error, an officer not pushing both record and play buttons, was at fault.
TAPE PROBLEMS: But Scott read from an interview Skinner gave to the SIU when he said they had been having some electrical problems with the tape machine, something that happened whenever the truck containing it stalled.
Skinner said Thursday it was a combination human and mechanical error because the tape wasn't re-started properly when the truck stalled.
The trial continues Tuesday when the court will go to view the site of the shooting. Testimony could wrap up next week.
SARNIA - An Ontario Provincial Police officer has been accused by a crown attorney of lying on the witness stand in the trial of a fellow officer charged in the shooting death of an Indian activist.
The dramatic courtroom flare-up yesterday came when crown attorney Ian Scott grilled Constable Mark Beauchesne about his recollections of the night of Sept. 6, 1995, when Anthony (Dudley) George was shot dead outside Ipperwash Provincial Park.
Scott accused Beauchesne twice of fabricating evidence to support the case of Acting Sergeant Kenneth Deane, a fellow member of the paramilitary tactics and rescue squad. Deane faces charges of criminal negligence causing death in George's shooting.
Beauchesne told court that Deane asked him, "Did you see the guy with the gun?" shortly after a mêlée in which George was shot dead.
No mention of the question appears in Beauchesne's notes.
Beauchesne told court he merely replied, "No," then asked no follow-up questions.
"Sir, you're under oath right now," Scott said. "I'm going to suggest that you're lying."
Scott pressed on, telling court he found it unbelievable that Beauchesne wouldn't have wanted to know more, since they were still in the field and Beauchesne's duty that night was to watch out for gunmen.
"You made absolutely and utterly no follow-up inquiry of that question asked to you by Acting Sergeant Deane?" Scott asked.
"Sir, I'm going to suggest to you that you're not telling the truth," Scott continued.
"He said, 'Did you see the guy with the gun?' " Beauchesne replied.
Court also heard that there should have been a tape recording made of the actions of Deane's squad that night, but that the tape was ruined through a combination of human and mechanical error.
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