Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 08/31/2013 1:00 AM
One of Manitoba's most notorious criminal cases is finally set for resolution -- a staggering 18 months after the trial ended.
Provincial court Judge Kelly Moar has revealed he is finally ready to determine the fate of a former police chief accused of deliberately botching a high-profile probe into a deadly car crash.
Harry Bakema, 62, will learn the verdict on Nov. 1. He has pleaded not guilty to perjury, obstruction of justice and breach of trust.
Crown and defence lawyers made their closing arguments on May 17, 2012. Moar then reserved his decision and gave no indication when it would be ready. Since then, the case has repeatedly been remanded in what justice officials told the Free Press is a nearly unprecedented delay.
No explanation has been given for the long wait in a case that already dates back to 2005 when the tragic crash occurred. A public inquiry was also held in 2008, which ultimately led to the charges being laid against Bakema.
Crown attorney Ashley Finlayson argued last year there is no doubt Bakema deliberately overlooked compelling evidence that suggested his former police colleague, Derek Harvey-Zenk, was drunk at the time of the deadly 2005 fatality.
Crystal Taman, 40, a married mother of three, was killed after her car was rear-ended by Harvey-Zenk while she waited at a red light near Lagimodiere Boulevard and the Perimeter Highway. Harvey-Zenk, now 39, was heading home from a night of drinking with fellow Winnipeg police officers.
He pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of dangerous driving causing death and was given a conditional sentence.
The failure of East St. Paul police to properly document signs Harvey-Zenk was impaired is one reason alcohol-related charges were dropped. That issue was the primary focus of a 2008 inquiry that led to Bakema's arrest and the disbanding of the East St. Paul police service.
Bakema's lawyer, Hymie Weinstein, argued last year the Crown failed to prove Bakema had criminal intent while acting as chief of East St. Paul police.
Weinstein suggested several former police officers who testified at the two-week trial were either mistaken or misrepresenting the truth about what happened. At worst, Bakema is guilty of making unintentional errors, he said.
He also took issue with the testimony of several witnesses who painted an ugly picture of Bakema's role in the investigation. Corrine Scott, a retired superintendent of the Winnipeg Police Service, told court Bakema called her from the crash scene, warning her an officer was involved.
Winnipeg police patrol Sgt. Cecil Sveinson testified Bakema told him at the crash scene Harvey-Zenk was "pissed." Sveinson, who was Taman's cousin, went to the scene to perform an aboriginal ceremony. He said Bakema added they had to get Harvey-Zenk "out of there right away."
Jason Woychuk, a former East St. Paul constable, told court a paramedic said Harvey-Zenk may have been intoxicated, but Bakema ordered him to keep that detail out of his report.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2013 0
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
RCMP critical of national anti-terrorist handbook
Historic Delta Marsh hunting property up for sale
Havixbeck wants to upgrade sewage plant, cut phosphorous contamination
Bowman promises different city hall, highlights 'efficiencies'
Convicted drug dealer asks judge for leniency
Willy skips Bombers practice to let his body recover
Former NHL player, hall of famer Hergesheimer dies
Child welfare should focus on parents, community:First Nations chiefs
Veteran Manitoba RCMP officer alleged to have molested child
Despite bringing in extra revenue, province no further ahead in slashing deficit
Man in custody after weapons-related investigation
Tories want government to release consultant's report on Phoenix Sinclair inquiry
Police looking for two bronze plaques stolen from community of Dunnottar
Man arrested after fire on Flora Avenue
Man gets jail after assaulting, choking police officer
Sanders says voters should be told hard truth about city's financial woes
Clouds, rain on the way
Art gallery sets weekend opening attendance record for its new Dali exhibitions
Ebola fight gets local aid
Judy W-L's ties targeted
Van 'driven erratically' crashes into construction equipment
Reporter faces luring charges
Bipole bill on ratepayers?
Transparency clearly lacking
'We will not let them exploit our youth'
Radio personality charged
Man's bid for retrial denied
Tories will quash motion for QP reform
Forgetful Havixbeck touts parkade, PSB plan
Advance polling stations open
Workers lack needed skills
Union's internal battle heading to courtroom
Broken net for city's at-risk kids