Retrial of Mountie Pompeo worth the risk

Crown should do all of its homework, then proceed with the appeal court-ordered retrial of local Mountie David Pompeo.

If Crown decides not to retry the valley constable, who shot Chemainus' unarmed Bill Gillespie in 2009, Pompeo will likely walk.

That would mean the unknown mountain of money taxpayers spent on his lengthy recent trial for aggravated assault will sadly have been for nothing.

We feel the retrial is worth the risk to clear the legal air on one of Cowichan's many complex cases in our terribly clogged court system.

Three appeal-court justices agreed Friday to Pompeo's retrial.

They state Duncan's late Judge Josiah Wood erred in excluding evidence of an expert who believed Pompeo's lethal force was necessary under police training; overstepping his role by requesting evidence be entered by Crown; and lengthy questioning of witnesses.

During the long trial, Wood was plainly frustrated by Crown's seeming lame-duck approach to the case while Pompeo's shrewd lawyer flooded court with what Wood apparently saw as redundant evidence and witness duplication.

Wood was a legal veteran, well versed in court protocols and rules to get at the truth.

We believe Canada's troubled justice system needs an overhaul to, among other things, allow judges the latitude to do what Wood saw as his duty — especially when Crown lawyers fail to completely do theirs.

We expect to see tough, sharp Crown lawyers on their toes during Pompeo's round two to finally determine why, and if, he was justified in wounding Gillespie on that dark night in Chemainus.

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