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Robert Woodward

Vancouver cops beat up senior citizen

Vancouver cops face prosecution after brutalizing a 71 year old man, who they saw swallowing a Tylenol pill in a private vehicle. Cops violently hauled the disabled senior citizen out of the car and tossed him against a wall, cutting his arm and causing surgery scar to open.

A Vancouver Sun report says of the victim, Robert Woodward, "His (earlier) spinal injury was so severe that he was paralysed from the waist down for 12 years but taught himself to walk again"…

"I'm just taking them (Tylenol) and wham - I'm against the wall," he recalled of the incident.

The impact knocked out his false teeth, he added...He asked for the officer's names and badge numbers but was told, "It's none of your business." He filed a police complaint the day of the incident and asked the sergeant who took his complaint for the names and badge numbers of the officers. "All he said is he would get in touch with them," Woodward recalled...Vancouver police Constable Anne Drennan said Woodward had not filed a formal complaint with police...Drennan said the officers ran into Woodward the next day and apologized to him. Woodward denies that happened."

Believe Woodward, because VPD is a pack of wild animals whose savage members should be charged with Fraud everytime they cash a pay cheque. Those worthless pigs unfound 19 out of every 20 crime complaints that their wage payers make, by right. They make a paltry 7 arrests per pig per year, and most of these are false. -- from a visitor

Police Officers Face Prosecution for Assaulting Senior Citizen

Press Advisory - For Immediate Release

January 20, 2005
PIVOT Legal Society

Police Officers Face Prosecution for Assaulting Senior Citizen

VANCOUVER - A senior criminal defence lawyer is preparing to prosecute two Vancouver Police officers for assaulting an elderly man in the Downtown Eastside.

Howard Rubin, a former Crown prosecutor, is set to appear in Provincial Court at 222 Main, on Monday, January 24, at 2:00 p.m. to begin proceedings against the two officers. Rubin is acting on behalf of Robert Woodward, a 71-year old senior citizen who lives in Surrey and does volunteer work in the Downtown Eastside.

What makes this case special is that a private citizen is acting as prosecutor, rather than the Crown. Under the Criminal Code, individual citizens can initiate criminal proceedings without the assistance of either the police or the Crown. Rubin took up the case on the request of Pivot Legal Society, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized persons.

The private prosecution stems from an incident on September 4, 2004. Woodward, who collects toys to give to poor families, was in his car taking Tylenol 3. Woodward has a subscription for the pills because of chronic pain, due to an industrial accident that paralyzed him for 12 years.

"I had put the Tylenols in my mouth when someone grabbed my throat and shoulder and literally dragged me out of the car," said Woodward. "There were two officers. One slammed me into a wall face first, and yelled 'Spit it out!' When I spit out the pills, my teeth came out as well."

Woodward suffered serious cuts to his left hand and right shoulder, and his stomach started to bleed from old injuries that split open. After the incident, VPD officers Swanson and Whittaker refused to give their names or badge numbers. Whittaker has since quit the VPD.

Woodward laid a complaint with the Vancouver Police Department the same day, but nothing ever happened. Since then, he tried six different times to get the names of the officers. It was only when Pivot Legal Society demanded the officer's names were they released.

"This case illustrates how lack of proper oversight and a violent police culture puts everyone in society at risk," said John Richardson, executive director of Pivot Legal Society. "There is no public safety without police accountability, not even for the elderly."


Further Comment:
John Richardson
(604) 417-6074

Howard Rubin
(604) 984-2030



Canadian criminal law is normally enforced using a two-step process: The police first investigate a crime, and then Crown prosecutors try the case in court. It is a little known fact, however, that individual Canadians are also authorized to initiate criminal proceedings, without involving either the police or the Crown. This process, known as a private prosecution, allows private individuals to act as criminal prosecutors.

Private prosecutions are not a new phenomenon. From the early Middle Ages to the 17th century, private prosecutions were the main way to enforce the criminal law. Indeed, responsibility for preserving the peace and maintaining the law generally rested with private citizens. Since that time, the police and the Crown Counsel's office have assumed most of the responsibilities for law enforcement. However, under the common law in Canada, every person has the right to initiate a private prosecution against an alleged offender in any matter that constitutes a violation of the Criminal Code. Individuals can also initiate private prosecutions to enforce a statute, such as environmental legislation, that provides penalties for the violations.

A private prosecution occurs when an individual, or a group of individuals, gathers evidence of a wrongdoing and swears an Information setting out the particulars of the alleged crime. Rather than the police initiating charges, as is normally the case, it is the individual who initiates criminal proceedings in a private prosecution.

This is how the process works:

a.. Any person can go before a Justice of the Peace and swear under oath that an illegal act has occurred. This process is known as "Laying an Information."

b.. A Justice of the Peace who receives an Information must refer the matter to a Provincial Court Judge.

c.. The individual who has laid the Information then appears before the Judge at a special hearing. If the Judge is satisfied that there exists substantial evidence that an offence has occurred, the Judge will issue a summons and order the accused to answer to the charge in court.

d.. If the Judge allows the charge to proceed, the individual (or their lawyer) can act as the prosecutor in conducting the legal proceedings.

The right of an individual to conduct a private prosecution is not unlimited. The Attorney General has the ability to take over a private prosecution. If the Attorney General decides that the prosecution is against the public interest, it can be stopped. In some cases, the Attorney General and the private prosecutor will work together, sharing the responsibility.

If the accused is found guilty as a result of the private prosecution, punishment and a criminal record will follow in the same way as a prosecution by the Crown.