Together with our friends at the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Human Rights Law Centre convened a roundtable discussion on the use of Tasers with international expert Professor Rob Gordon, Director of the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. The roundtable was generously hosted by Allens and attendees included senior members of Victoria Police, policy makers from the Victorian Government Department of Justice, academic experts and community lawyers.
Professor Gordon is a member of an expert panel assembled by the Canadian Council of Academicies for Defence Research and Development Canada, examining the use of Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs) in Canada and the latest medical evidence and research into their physiological effects.
Professor Gordon gave a presentation on the Canadian experience of CED use, framed by the learnings from the Braidwood Inquiry that followed the Taser related death of Robert Dziekański at Vancouver airport in 2007. The Braidwood recommendations represent best practice in the regulation of CEDs and have informed the incremental approach taken by Victoria Police to the roll out of Tasers in Victoria. The discussion canvassed the latest research into the physiological effects of Tasers, as well as the experience in Australian jurisdictions as compared to the Canadian experience including thresholds for use, and the disadvantages and advantages of Tasers as a tactical option. The discussion was particularly pertinent in light of the inquest into the Taser-related death of Brazilian student Roberto Curti.