Closing arguments wrapped up on Wednesday in the retrial of Const. David Pompeo, and the trial adjourned to set a date for the judge’s decision.
Pompeo was convicted in February 2013 of aggravated assault in the shooting of William Gillespie during a traffic stop in September 2009. In December 2013, Pompeo was sentenced to two years probation and 240 hours of community service. The Crown had sought a sentence of two years in jail.
In August 2014, Pompeo won an appeal for a new trial, which started last November.
Closing arguments from the defence argued that Gillespie was a fundamentally unreliable witness and that, on account of his training and past experience, Pompeo had sufficient reason to believe Gillespie was a threat to his safety.
“Mr. Gillespie is not a reliable witness. He just isn’t,” defence lawyer Ravi Hira told the court. “You don’t advance on someone pointing a gun at you.”
Hira said Pompeo believed Gillespie may have been intoxicated and perceived him at the time as possibly reaching in his pocket for a weapon.
“He’d experienced previous close calls where a suspect was reaching for a firearm,” Hira said. “There’s no reason to disbelieve Const. Pompeo.”
The Crown’s closing arguments centered largely on Pompeo’s alleged lack of reliability as a witness in his own defence.
“[Pompeo’s] evidence should be viewed with great caution,” Crown prosecutor Oleh Kuzma told judge Lisa Mrozinski. “And his evidence should be given little weight except in the cases where it can be independently verified.”
Kuzma reviewed several of what he called “inconsistencies” in Pompeo’s own statements, and situations where Pompeo’s testimony contradicted that of other witnesses, including Gillespie and other police officers. He also pointed out Pompeo’s “irresponsiveness and evasiveness” in questioning, and suggested there were “elements of exaggeration and embellishment” in his testimony.
Pompeo may have experienced “tunnel vision and auditory exclusion” during the traffic stop when he shot Gillespie, Kuzma acknowledged, but that should not be factored into justifying the shooting.
The date for Mrozinski’s decision had not been announced as of Thursday morning.