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Trial begins for ex-Mountie charged with killing Ottawa cop

Filed under: Press Release

Originally posted in the Toronto Sun

OTTAWA -- Four paramedics who desperately tried to save Ottawa Police Const. Eric Czapnik's life and subdued his assailant are expected to be witnesses at the trial of the disgraced Mountie accused of stabbing him to death.

Jury selection is slated to start Monday in Kevin Gregson's first-degree murder trial.

It's scheduled to take a month with about 25 Crown witnesses, including the paramedics whose story will be heard for the first time.

Czapnik, a 51-year-old father of four, was taking notes in his idling cruiser outside the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital at 4:30 a.m. Dec. 29, 2009 when a man walked up to the window and stabbed him in the neck.

Despite immediate first aid from nearby paramedics -- while their colleagues wrestled the suspect to the ground -- he was pronounced dead an hour later.

Gregson, then 43, was charged with murder and robbery in relation to a Honda Civic that was involved in a carjacking the night before and found parked and running at the murder scene.

The city would mourn Czapnik, the first police officer to be killed here in 26 years, with a funeral attended by 4,000 police officers and 8,000 members of the public.

"Eric was a hero in life, not death," said his wife Anna Korutowska of her husband, who was the force's oldest recruit ever when he joined in 2007 at 48.

Gregson, it was learned, was on suspension without pay from the RCMP as he appealed his 2008 firing.

After his arrest in the Czapnik killing, Gregson spent 60 days undergoing a psychiatric assessment at a maximum-security hospital in Penetanguishene.

"Much to my surprise, they did not see any issues with respect to not criminally responsible," Gregson's then-lawyer Geraldine Castle-Trudel said, citing Gregson's "escalating" behaviour as an RCMP officer and the emergency brain surgery he underwent in 2006.

"They found that he had some personality disorders and problems in all likelihood but they weren't satisfied he was not criminally responsible at the time in question.

"I certainly would feel a second opinion is wise. There's too much there."

Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of the writer and should not be seen as an authority on the subject matter contained herein. You should always consult a lawyer. This article is in no way the opinion of Castle –Trudel Criminal Lawyers.

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