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Ex-chief charged in Taman crash investigation

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WINNIPEG - RCMP have charged former East St. Paul Police Service chief Harry Bakema, 58, with perjury, criminal breach of trust and obstruction of justice in relation to the investigation following the crash involving an off-duty officer that killed Crystal Taman in 2005.

In September 2008, following a request by Manitoba Justice, the Major Crime Unit of RCMP "E" Division - B.C. conducted an investigation into allegations of criminal activity by former East St. Paul Police Service personnel. The investigation focused on the handling of a fatal traffic collision in 2005.

In September 2010, the RCMP "E" Division Major Crime Unit completed their investigation, which was forwarded to the Alberta Justice Department for review and charge approval.

Bakema has been served a summons and is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 5, 2011, in Winnipeg.

Crystal Taman was killed after she stopped at a red light at Lagimodiere Boulevard and the Perimeter Highway Feb. 25, 2005. She was headed to work when former Winnipeg police Const. Derek Harvey-Zenk’s pickup truck slammed into the back of her convertible.

Harvey-Zenk was later charged with several offences, including impaired driving causing death, but all charges except for dangerous driving causing death were later stayed in a controversial plea bargain. He was sentenced to two years less a day to be served at home.

Two days later, the province called an inquiry into how the investigation and prosecution were handled.

Last October, inquiry commissioner Roger Sulhany said the investigation by the East St. Paul police and Winnipeg Police Service was botched and the prosecution of the case was poorly handled in that allegations of drinking were not properly collected.

Harry Bakema's testimony at the Taman Inquiry in Winnipeg in 2008:

History

Updated on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 3:01 PM CST: Adds background.

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