By Sarah Simpson
Published July 23, 2013/ cowichanvalleycitizen.com
Bill Gillespie’s hopes for closure were postponed on Tuesday when he learned the sentencing of the police officer that shot him four years ago has been put off until Aug. 26 and Aug 27 in Colwood.
Sentencing for former North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Const. David Pompeo was slated to begin at the Duncan Law Courts on Tuesday. He was convicted of aggravated assault after shooting Gillespie during a routine traffic stop on Sept. 18, 2009, The sentencing didn’t happen.
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said council on both sides of the case wanted more time to prepare.
“Both Crown and defence have agreed that some additional time is required to prepare for the sentencing proceedings,” he told media.
Gillespie, however, said he was kept in the dark. He had his family and friends at his side at the Duncan Law Courts, ready to sit in on the two-day sentencing.
He felt “really mad. Really angry,” at the decision.
“We thought it was going to be case closed, that we’d be done with it and that my nightmare was starting to come to a close but that’s just not the case here today,” he told press.
It would have benefited Pompeo, too, Gillespie said, to finally have some closure.
“It would have been a good thing for him today to get this out of the way.”
Regardless, Gillespie believes “preferential treatment” will mean the “trigger happy” Pompeo sees no jail time when all is said and done.
“If they ever give him back his gun, he’ll shoot somebody else,” Gillespie said of the Mountie, who remains on desk duty in Nanaimo.
“There should be a lesson here the police should learn here that you cannot go around shooting people,” he said.
“And then they think that they’re not supposed to be held accountable for that.”
Raji Mangat, a lawyer with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, was at Gillespie’s side Tuesday morning.
“We’re very disappointed,” Mangat said. “This delay just adds to the almost four years that Bill has been waiting for justice and we’re
frankly very disappointed that the sentencing hearing didn’t go ahead today and tomorrow as scheduled.”
Mangat said the guilty verdict came down on Feb. 14 of this year and there was ample time between then and Tuesday for counsel to prepare whatever arguments they might want to make.
Meanwhile, the civil suit Gillespie has filed has also been postponed pending the outcome of the criminal case.
“They are dragging this on for me. They are making this as difficult as possible. They’re going
to try to wait me out and wear me down. That’s what they’re trying to do here.”
Gillespie says he is facing a lifelong disability, as Pompeo’s bullet remains lodged in his spine.
“I live with pain every day and the horror of knowing that I could be facing paralysis in the future,” he said.
Finding closure in what has become a four-year ordeal would have meant “everything” to him, Gillespie said. He’s broke, in pain, and has a son to worry about.
“I’m not having a good time with life most of the time,” he said.