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Mountie's shooting of Cowichan Valley man criticized

Sep 05 2012

RCMP Const. David A. Pompeo had no justification for shooting William Gillespie in the neck after pulling over Gillespie's car, a Crown prosecutor told court on the first day of Pompeo's trial for aggravated assault.

Based at the North Cowichan-Duncan detachment at the time, Pompeo was one of two plainclothes officers who pulled over Chemainus resident Gillespie, 41, and his passenger, Dale Brewer, on the night of Sept. 18, 2009, on suspicion of driving while prohibited.

During the traffic stop, Pompeo shot Gillespie in the neck.

Crown prosecutor Todd Patola and defence lawyer Ravi Hira agreed there was no question that Pompeo discharged his weapon.

"The issue that the judge needs to decide is was Const. Pompeo justified in shooting Gillespie," Patola said in his opening address to provincial court Judge Josiah Wood.

Clad in a dark suit, Pompeo looked on as Sgt. Ken J. Kulak, the officer in charge of Nanaimo's forensic identification section, went through a book of photos and a video setting the scene that he inspected the night of the shooting and the next morning.

Hira pointed out what appeared to be a crack pipe and marijuana-related items taken from the Saturn sedan Gillespie had been driving.

Kulak agreed it looked like drug paraphernalia but said he couldn't be sure.

Next on the stand was Taralee Vesey, who was 17 at the time of the incident.

Vesey said she and her boyfriend were watching TV when they heard shouting outside the house at 3020 Henry Rd.

"At first, I thought it was the TV in the front room. At the time, I thought it was Dale Brewer getting into a fight," she said.

Brewer lived in a suite underneath Vesey's home.

The young woman said she didn't remember exactly what she'd heard three years ago, but believed her statements to police to be accurate.

In those statements, she told police she had heard what sounded like a " 'put your hands in the air' kind of thing."

She said she heard the gunshot and went to the window to see "the one officer holding the gun."

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