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The staff-sergeant who was Pierre Lemaitre’s supervisor at the time of Robert Dziekanski’s death told a coroner’s inquest on Wednesday that once incorrect information about the incident had been given to media, the RCMP’s strategic communications unit could not do much about it.

John Ward was head of the unit when Mr. Dziekanski died at Vancouver International Airport in October, 2007, after an altercation with police. He was asked on Wednesday at an inquest into Sgt. Lemaitre’s death what the unit had done after learning that information it had given to Sgt. Lemaitre to release was incorrect.

“Once that was out in the media, then there wasn’t much that we were going to be able to do because at some point, [the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team] took over all the media relations dealing with that issue,” Mr. Ward said, who retired from the force in 2008.

He said he did not recall any discussions about correcting the misinformation, or Sgt. Lemaitre being “overly stressed” about it.

“Part of the responsibilities of the [media relations officer] is trusting the information that you’re given at the time,” Mr. Ward said. “And, generally speaking, that information is accurate. Obviously, sometimes it’s not quite as accurate as it should be.”

Mr. Ward said several times that police are restricted in what they can say as it could affect future court cases. He did not explain why the incorrect information was allowed to stand, and he was not challenged on this point.

Mr. Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who did not speak English, had just arrived in Canada to live with his mother, but got lost in the airport and wandered around for 10 hours. He eventually began throwing furniture in the arrivals area and was stunned with a Taser seconds after officers arrived on the scene. He died on the airport floor.

In the hours after the incident, Sgt. Lemaitre was given information from another spokesman to relay to media. This included that officers stunned Mr. Dziekanski with a Taser twice, when it actually was five times. He also described Mr. Dziekanski as “combative” and said officers deployed the Taser only to “immobilize the violent man,” but bystander video that soon surfaced challenged that account.

Sgt. Lemaitre died by suicide on July 29, 2013, at the age of 55.

Earlier in the inquest, Sgt. Lemaitre’s wife and former colleagues testified about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, and the profound impact of feeling he had been used as a scapegoat by the force, and labeled a liar by the public. Sheila Lemaitre testified that her husband’s mental-health issues became significantly worse after the Dziekanski incident.

“At one point, he was almost screaming, ‘I want to correct it, I want to tell them,’ and he wasn’t allowed,” Ms. Lemaitre told the inquest on Monday. “He was ordered not to.”

He was later transferred to the traffic division – a move viewed as a punishment.

The inquest also heard on Wednesday from Chief Superintendent Denis Boucher, Sergeant Lemaitre’s supervisor in traffic services. Supt. Boucher described his former employee as dedicated and knowledgeable, with a strong work ethic. Sgt. Lemaitre had disclosed that he had PTSD and depression, but there wasn’t much further discussion of it, Supt. Boucher said.

After Sgt. Lemaitre went on medical leave, the two exchanged e-mails about his progress. Sgt. Lemaitre apologized for his recovery taking longer than expected; Supt. Boucher extended his sympathies and offered to help in any way he could.

“Pierre’s final email, July 23,” Supt. Boucher said, tearfully reading the correspondence. “This is very difficult. I’m seeing both a psychologist and a psychiatrist to help me with my situation. The psychiatrist just changed my meds because they’re not getting the results they were hoping for. I am working on it.”

The five-person jury in the Lemaitre inquest is expected to issue recommendations this week.

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