Up, Down, In This Thread.
I think it is important that the story of Frank Paul be linked to the Braidwood Inquiry. It does not involve the RCMP, but it involves the same overseer, B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal, and the same unconscionable official obfuscation and delay as we have seen around the death of Robert Dziekanski, and worse.
Oppal is running in an election soon in Delta South - including Tsawwassen. His opponent will be the Independent candidate for MLA of Delta South, Vicki Huntington.
Larry W. Campbell, Chief Coroner at the time of Paul's death, is now a Senator, the Honourable Larry W. Campbell. A law-and-order guy as you can see in the pictures below.
From the report: "After discussing the circumstances with the chief coroner [Larry Campbell], she [Ms. Robinson] understood that his statements were a directive not to hold an inquest." (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)
... as compelling as Davies' arguments are in his review the "tragic arc" of Frank Paul's life, it is doubtful this government will do the right thing in its upcoming legislative changes to how police actions are investigated.
referring to Alone and Cold,
report of the Davies Commission Inquiry into the death of Frank Paul.
The full report is available at the Commission website: Davies Commission Inquiry into the death of Frank Paul.
This is the end of the story of Frank Joseph Paul:
But by 8 p.m. he was found insensible, lying across a vegetable stand on Hastings Street by officers who arrested him for drunkenness and called for the police wagon.
Instant, a new constable still on probation, was driving the wagon. He brought Paul to jail and dragged him inside. He had urinated in his pants, his clothing was dishevelled and Instant believed Paul was drunk.
But when they arrived at the booking area Sanderson -- an experienced officer and jail warden --refused to admit Paul, saying he wasn't drunk, and told Instant to take him to Broadway and Maple and release him.
Paul was carried by Instant and jail guard Greg Firlotte back to the police wagon, which contained another male who was due to go the detox centre on First Avenue near Scotia Street.
Before going there, Instant was called to the Cobalt Hotel to pick up three men, and he while there he asked Const. Jim English what he should do with Paul as the direction to release him at Broadway and Maple "didn't make sense."
English said Paul was homeless and didn't live there and advised Instant to take him to the lane behind the detox centre.
When he arrived, a detox centre worker looked at Paul and asked him if he was to be admitted, too.
"I said `no, he stays with me,'" Instant testified.
Asked why he didn't allow him to go into the centre, Instant said that by then he had been convinced by Sanderson that Paul wasn't intoxicated, that he was in his normal state and would eventually pull himself together.
Instant decided the lane would be a good place to leave Paul. There was some shelter under an overhang -- although he later admitted the overhang was too small to offer any protection -- there was a hedge that could also give shelter, the area was well lit, it was within a short distance of two 24-hour restaurants, and the alley was often travelled by other police wagons and ambulance units.
He felt this was a safe place to release Paul.
He helped him walk across the alley and he left him propped up against a wall and said "I'll see you later, Frank."
That was at about 9 p.m. Shortly after 2 a.m. he heard a sudden death was reported for that alley and that Paul was the victim. He returned there and told the officers he had left Paul in the alley.
Frank Paul report shames B.C., Allen Garr, Vancouver Courier, Wednesday, March 18, 2009.
It's about time the provincial government ended the practice of police investigating themselves. In fact, it's long overdue.
The latest report making that case is the most comprehensive of the lot. It's the interim report of the Davies Commission Inquiry into the death of Frank Paul titled "Cold and Alone."
In the hands of retired judge William Davies the circumstances leading to the terrible death of the 47-year-old New Brunswick aboriginal man come to represent the myriad problems faced by many left to deal with the health care and criminal justice systems. Paul was a homeless, mentally ill alcoholic and the product of residential schools.
Davies spends a fair bit of his report and recommendations dealing with the failure of the system for those like Paul who are mentally ill and addicted.
But he spares no criticism when dealing with the criminal justice system. Paul was failed by the Vancouver Police Department. He was dragged soaking wet from jail and dumped into a back alley on a cold rainy December night; he succumbed to hypothermia.
Davies found the VPD homicide team's investigation into Paul's death was shoddy and inadequate: "Facts were overlooked, suspicions unaddressed and clarifying evidence left untouched."
Paul was failed by the coroner's office, which refused on a number of occasions to hold an inquest into the cause of his death. Senator Larry Campbell was B.C.'s chief coroner at the time. Davies wrote "inadequate attention was paid to the question of whether Paul remained within the custody of the police," which would have prompted an inquest and, presumably, more careful work by the coroner at the scene of Paul's death.
Davies also believes something went wrong within the provincial criminal justice branch, which concluded no charges should be laid in this incident. The Crown was "unable to establish that any police officer failed to perform" in any way that was not "reasonably prudent."
The reason Davies' findings come as an "interim report" is due to his ongoing battle with the Crown. Davies won a case in the Supreme Court of B.C. compelling the Crown to testify before him. The government challenged that ruling at the B.C. Court of Appeal.
Even without that being resolved, Davies is convinced the problem at the core of all of this is the fact that police are left to investigate themselves. He says: "These systemic flaws are grounded in conflict of interest--the police investigating themselves. I am persuaded that nothing short of a wholesale restructuring of such investigations will suffice."
Those of you paying attention to the current Braidwood Inquiry into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski will see many parallels in the two cases as far as the police investigation and the Crown's conclusions are concerned. And going back a bit there is the in-custody death case of Ian Bush in Houston, B.C.
Davies is recommending a civilian body be established to investigate in-custody deaths, serious injuries and professional conduct complaints. Several successive Liberal B.C. solicitors generals who are in charge of policing policy have refused that request, even though similar procedures are in place in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario.
In his government-mandated review of the B.C. Police Act two years ago, former Justice Josiah Wood found many weaknesses in the system, including his observation that "investigators seemed reluctant or casual about investigations of potential criminal misconduct by police officers." But he stopped short of calling for an end to police investigating themselves.
That's why, as compelling as Davies' arguments are in his review the "tragic arc" of Frank Paul's life, it is doubtful this government will do the right thing in its upcoming legislative changes to how police actions are investigated. And that's a shame.