Sunday, June 29, 2008

Legality of Canadian Police Tasings

At Excited Delirium (with more here and here) and Truth Not Tasers, I just read about some potentially huge legal troubles for Canadian police. From The Star:

OTTAWA–Evidence at British Columbia's Taser inquiry may mean police forces across Canada, including the Ontario Provincial Police officers who zapped a suspect in Norfolk County near Simcoe this week, could be slapped with Criminal Code charges and wrongful death lawsuits.

B.C. police complaints commissioner Dirk Ryneveld revealed new information first unearthed by an Ontario consultant that shows most police agencies in Canada are wrongly operating, likely illegally, under the assumption that the Taser is not a "prohibited firearm."

In fact, research by Ottawa-based consultant John Kiedrowski indicates Taser guns are actually explicitly defined in Canadian criminal law as "prohibited firearms" – a designation that brings much stiffer rules around storage, training, certification and usage.

Likewise, any offence with a firearm, such as unauthorized use, would bring harsher mandatory minimum jail penalties.

I'd expect this to be big news in Canada and to cause some heated discussion at the Yahoo and Google Finance message boards.