Court of Appeal hears arguments to overturn Pompeo's conviction

David Pompeo leaves the Duncan courtroom following his sentencing in December. - Andrew Leong
David Pompeo leaves the Duncan courtroom following his sentencing in December.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

The B.C. Court of Appeal heard arguments in Vancouver Monday and Tuesday that could result in aggravated assault charges against Const. David Pompeo in the 2009 shooting of Bill Gillespie near Chemainus being dismissed or a new trial ordered.

A decision is expected within a few weeks.

B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director Josh Paterson, whose organization has been monitoring the case closely, attended a portion of the proceedings while Gillespie was there the entire time.

"Everyone has the right to have an appeal,'' said Paterson.

But there are several aspects of the case that have caught the attention of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association from the beginning. The question remains whether an RCMP officer has received preferential treatment compared to a civilian in a similar circumstance.

"What we're really concerned about, despite this officer being convicted for some time now, there's still been no action from the RCMP in terms of discipline,'' said Paterson.

"They keep saying they're going to proceed after the appeal takes place. But they didn't need to wait till the appeal took place.

"Even if his conviction were to be overturned, that doesn't mean there still shouldn't have been a disciplinary process.''

As a Civil Liberties organization, "we tend to find ourselves advocating for the rights of defendants,'' said Paterson. "That includes police officers, too.''

But he can't help but wonder, "whether any of us would have gotten that sentence,'' said Paterson of Pompeo's 24 months of probation and 240 hours community service. Pompeo was also allowed to retain his gun that essentially enabled him to keep his job.

At the hearing, defence lawyer Ravi Hira challenged the trial judge's role for asking too many questions and developing his own theories that should have been the Crown's job. This is the fourth member of the Crown on the case.

"The lawyer for the Crown made the best possible pitch they could to defend the conviction they'd obtained,'' observed Paterson.

If a new trial is granted, the Crown will be faced with a decision and could stay the charges and not retry Pompeo.

Gillespie still has a civil trial scheduled for the summer.

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