Pubdate: Sun, 08 Feb 2004
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
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Copyright: 2004 The Province
Author: Adrienne Tanner


One of two Vancouver police officers fired for taking part in the Stanley 
Park assaults has decided to fight his dismissal.

Duncan Gemmell and Gabriel Kojima were stripped of their badges following a 
disciplinary review by Chief Const. Jamie Graham late last month.

Gemmell has decided to ask the police complaint commissioner for a public 
hearing to review the chief's decision, said David Butcher, the lawyer 
representing the 39-year-old former police officer.

Butcher said he has not yet notified the commission of his client's 
intention. "My time is not up. But I'm about to do it," he said.

Kojima's lawyer, David Crossin, could not be reached for comment.

Under the police act, officers who are dissatisfied with discipline imposed 
by the chief constable are entitled to request a public hearing.

At a hearing, witnesses who could be called to testify and subjected to 
cross examination include the victims, the young recruit who informed 
superiors about the assaults and the other five officers.

Gemmell and Kojima are also appealing their criminal sentences, said Robert 
Gourlay, the special Crown prosecutor who handled the case.

Gemmell, the most experienced of the junior officers, received 60 days of 
house arrest and six months' probation.

At the sentencing, Provincial Court Judge Herb Weitzel said Gemmell bore 
the highest level of moral responsibility for instigating the violence.

Kojima, who used his baton and boot on the victims, was given one month's 
house arrest and six months' probation.

Both were recently dismissed by Graham for what he described as 
"inexcusable" conduct.

The other four constables who took part in the January 2003 beating of 
three suspected drug dealers, received lighter criminal sentences and were 
allowed to keep their jobs.

Reasons backing Graham's disciplinary decision, which were released 
publicly on the Internet, have been the subject of much discussion among 
Vancouver police.

Vancouver Police Union president Tom Stamatakis recently weighed in on the 
debate in his newsletter, criticizing the chief's decision to fire the two 

"I still say these guys came forward from the outset and accepted 
responsibility," Stamatakis said.

Stamatakis said after speaking with Const. Troy Peters, the whistle-blower, 
"I don't agree with how this whole incident has been characterized."

Graham appeared to weigh some information more heavily than the rest, 
Stamatakis added.

There were volumes of documentation attesting to the past good character 
and exemplary careers of the officers before the Stanley Park mistake, he said.

Stamatakis said he printed his opinion in the newsletter because it was 
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