Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Jury must weigh cops' actions in shooting of drug dealer

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A frightened Const. Darrel Selley fired three shots at a desperate criminal to stop him from firing his downed partner's gun, a jury was told this afternoon.

Selley's lawyer Richard Wolson told jurors that in the confusing moments of early July 17, 2007, career criminal Kristofer Fournier managed to grab the sidearm of Selley's partner Const. Kristopher Overwater after a brief struggle.

In the split seconds that followed, Selley fired three shots at Fournier after he ignored orders to drop the gun.

Selley fired a fourth shot when Fournier appeared to turn at him with Overwater's police handgun in his hands.

The jury has already heard that that fourth shot hit Fournier in his buttocks.

Wolson implored jurors to acquit Selley who feared for his and his partner's life that night and acted in self-defence.

Wolson also said jurors should discount Fournier's testimony as he's a convicted criminal who lies and cares only about himself.

Fournier has said he was high on crystal meth the night of the shooting. Wolson said the drug could have caused Fournier to hallucinate about what happened.

The Crown says, based on Fournier's evidence, that the two city police officers shot an unarmed Fournier in a fit of anger and then lied to cover it up.

Special prosecutor Robert Tapper told the jury this morning that Selley and Overwater were acting as judge, jury and executioner.

"We do not allow vigilante justice in Canada, especially [for] those in a police uniform," Tapper told the six-woman, six-man jury. "We don't live in a third-world dictatorship."

Selley is charged with attempted murder using a firearm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm in the shooting of Fournier.

He and Overwater have pleaded not guilty to intending to wound Fournier by firing a Glock .40-calibre handgun, aggravated assault and obstruction of justice.

The officers had chased a stolen Yukon SUV thought to be the getaway vehicle involved in a 7-Eleven robbery.

The chase began after two masked men armed with a knife held up a 7-Eleven in St. James at Portage Avenue and Hampton Street at 2:35 a.m. on July 16, 2007.

Police responded immediately and ended up chasing an SUV that turned out to be stolen, but not involved in the robbery.

Selley and Overwater, in the primary pursuit vehicle, chased the SUV, speeding up to 142 km/h on Academy Road then slowing down and speeding up through the streets of River Heights, finally stopping near Grant Avenue and Lindsay Street when Fournier bolted on foot.

The jury has heard four shots rang out from Selley's sidearm after Overwater yelled, "Shoot him, shoot him."

A single round hit Fournier in his buttocks.

"If Selley was a better shot, it would be capital punishment," Tapper told the jury this morning.

"The fact he was a criminal doesn't mean police can act as criminals," he added.

The Crown has accused Selley of recklessly firing his weapon while chasing Fournier, while Overwater is accused of putting his own gun next to the wounded man and then claiming to other officers the suspect had made a grab for it.

Tapper also told the jury simple science, where the expended rounds were found and gunshot residue was found on the officers, shows the officers were at fault.

"Go where the evidence takes you," Tapper said.


Updated on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM CST: Updates with defence's closing statements

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