The lawyers for two Surrey police officers accused of assaulting a 73-yearold man at Surrey Memorial Hospital in 2010 are arguing for a judicial stay of proceedings because it has taken the government 29 months to bring the case against their clients to trial.
Surrey RCMP Const. Mitchell Spears and Transit Police Const. Ken Jansen pleaded not guilty Monday to assaulting Robert Keith Booker on April 22, 2010. The Crown alleges Booker was assaulted and hit with a Taser during an unprovoked attack.
Both officers have been charged with assault and Spears is also charged with assault with a weapon, namely, a Taser. Lawyer Jack Harris is representing Spears and lawyer David Butcher is Jansen's counsel. During a two-day hearing Monday and today (Tuesday), they are arguing before Judge Ronald Lamperson in Surrey provincial court that the delay has breached their clients' Charter right to a timely trial.
If the judge decides not to stay the charges, a six-day trial will begin on April 2.
Crown prosecutor Janet Dickie said Monday she expects to call nine witnesses should the trial proceed.
The court heard that the Surrey RCMP was called to investigate a complaint that Booker had chased his landlord with a knife.
Dickie said she expects the court will hear that Spears went into the residence and threatened to use a Taser on Booker.
The elderly man was handcuffed, arrested under the Mental Health Act and was taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital. The prosecutor said she expects the judge will hear that hospital staff found Booker "calm and pleasant," albeit saying strange things.
She also expects the judge will hear that Spears and Jansen were seen on top of Booker, who suffered a head injury that required stitches, and that Jansen was seen "knee-striking" Booker several times.
Dickie said an emergency room video will reveal Booker "did nothing" to Spears. Spears is accused of pinning Booker down in a chair and "grasping" his neck.
Dickie told the court that the alleged assault was "not provocated" and "the force applied was excessive and dangerous."