1) Hearing into the Taser Death of Robert Dziekanski.
The hearing continues and the incriminating evidence continues to accumulate against the action of the 4 RCMP officers who apprehended Mr. Dziekanski at the Vancouver Airport on Oct 14, 2007. Unable to speak English very well, he had been trapped by official disinterest for 6hrs in the baggage holding area, waiting for his mother to collect him. He became increasingly truculent. Within a minute of arrival at the scene, the 4 officers tased Dziekanski 5 times before he was quickly subdued. Unfortunately, heart stopped and he died before EMT was able to reach the area.
Const. Bentley admitted that his notes were in error about Dziekanski' actions when shown the amateur cell-phone video of bystander, Paul PRICHARD.
"I believed it was accurate at the time I made the note," he said.Obviously NOT. The other officers who have appeared this week also have faulty recollections of the series and sequence of events that call into what prompted the fatal tasering to occur. None of these discrepancies would have been available without video evidence.
2) Dagenais videotape trashed, court hears
"A videotape found in an RCMP vehicle that was at the scene when two Saskatchewan Mounties were shot was destroyed a month after Curtis Dagenais was charged with murder, a courtroom heard yesterday."To me, it seems strange any videotape would be destroyed when it was clear Mr. DAGENAIS would be charged with murder in the slaying of 2 RCMP officers near Mildred SK on July 7 2006. But, another side of Curtis DAGENAIS's untold story is his complaints against the local RCMP detachment's lack of assistance in securing his property following his parents Divorce. There are issues behind the crime that the RCMP has some responsibility in causing.
3) I have written before how much the RCMP favour the discredited "Mr. Big" sting in obtaining confessions under criminal or at least false pretenses. So it was of interest to read about this 2008 psychology research experiment1 that found that False Confessions could be obtained by showing test subjects doctored-video that incriminated them, even though they do not recall the "illegal" act! Innocent But Proven Guilty: Eliciting Internalized False Confessions Using Doctored - Video Evidence by ROBERT A. NASH and KIMBERLEY A. WADE. This study examines Obtaining False Confessions by showing subjects doctored video of them committing errors. Those who recall the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump" may remember the fake video of Forrest shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy - obviously false - but much easier to achieve in these days of digital photography. In this lab experiment, at least 69% ended up admitting to doing something they did not do, but were seduced by video that contradicted their own experience!
Clearly, video evidence is tremendously powerful to help prove one's case and as everyone have faulty recollections about events - including witnesses and police - it may be the crucial evidence you need to help your case.
4) The video below describes a man's experience in recording his own court case. Unlike Alberta, Sec 136 of the Ontario Court Act permits defendants (and appellants) the right to record their own court hearings. (CourtWatch has prepared a brief pamphlet on the topic as well as a VERY LONG 140pp "How-to Guide"). I highly recommended that fathers in Ontario do this - despite the extreme pressure they are likely to receive in the courts from their own lawyer, judge and Sheriff's Department.
In Alberta, personal use audio recording is not permitted (only "accredited" reporters are allowed to do this). Only official transcripts ($2.20 per page for 30day delivery, or an extra $0.70 per page for expedited transcription in 10 days) are permitted. This "information monopsony" impairs the administration of justice as there is no legitimate counter-balance to verify or dispute errors about audio transcripts. If one suspects tampering or even inaccurate transcripts the only recourse is to petition the court for the audio tapes - another costly barrier to resolving an injustice. Given the rapidly declining cost of technology there is little in the way of a technical barrier but it represents a "loss of control" issue for judges.
Many Family Courts2 in the U.S. videotape court proceedings. Much valuable information can be conveyed - such as plaintiff gestures and movements in court - that are lost without video, not to mention accommodating the hearing impaired. A further complication is poor quality audio recordings - which are more common than many think. Courtroom encounters can involve noisy and testy exchanges with MANY different people speaking over-top one another - and sometimes those voices are misattributed, to garbled to hear or not heard at all.
A final problem against court audio transcripts is that they can be tampered with by Judges. This is a serious but frequently heard criticism.
1) Dr. Lora Levett - Assistant Professor of Criminology, University of Florida. See research entitled Innocent But Proven Guilty: Eliciting Internalized False. Confessions Using Doctored-Video Evidence. by ROBERT A. NASH and KIMBERLEY A. WADE. This study examines Obtaining False Confessions by showing subjects doctored video of them committing errors. Those who remember the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump" may recall the false video of Forrest shaking hands with President J.F. Kennedy - obviously false - but much easier to achieve in these days of digital photography. In this lab experiment, at least 69% ended up admitting to doing something they were prohibited to do.
2) Among U.S Jurisdictions that videotape court proceedings: CA, MD, NJ. For more info about transcription services in Alberta go to Alberta Shorthand Reporters Association (ASRA) is a professional association of verbatim shorthand reporters founded in 1958 primarily composed of verbatim shorthand reporters in the Province of Alberta. It is affiliated with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) headquartered in Washington DC.