Thursday, January 04, 2007

Congratulations to Cameron Ward! - lawyer wins $10,000 for wrongful jailing in Chretien pie case

Congratulations to my friend Cameron Ward, the noted lawyer who was wrongfully jailed in 2002 by Vancouver police after he was detained on suspicion that he might "pie" then Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Ward won an award of $10,000 when BC Supreme Court Justice David Tysoe ruled yesterday that he had been wrongfully imprisoned and that jail officials had improperly tried to strip search him as well.

While Tysoe did not find police acted maliciously or oppressively it is hard to believe that Ward, a lawyer who has represented complainants in many high profile legal actions against Vancouver police, including the Jeff Berg case - Berg was killed during his arrest by police, was not at some point recognized by police or jail officials.

Ward also represents the family of Robert Bagnell, a man who died after being Tasered by Vancouver police while being arrested.

Ward points out that a simple apology from police for his mistreatment would have ended the matter but because of their refusal to admit wrongdoing, he pursued the matter in court and won.

Isn't it a bit ridiculous for police to:

a) assume a lawyer in his mid-40s is a pie throwing anarchist intent on creaming Chretien?

b) jail Ward even after he clearly identified himself as a lawyer?

c) refuse to apologize for an obvious mistake and instead cost taxpayers probably $100,000 to defend police and jail officials in court?

Good for Ward for sticking up for his rights - and the rights of anyone wrongfully accused, detained and jailed!

Ward continues to pursue a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals who were detained and strip searched in violation of the Charter of Rights


Anonymous said...

If the police didn't recognize him - and there is no reason to think they did (he's a well known lawyer, not Paris Hilton) - I don't think it was ridiculous for the police to take the cautious route and assume he was a tartiste, especially after he ignored the verbal warning.

It seems silly that they jailed him, but my Spidey sense tells me that not all the details were reported in the media. It would be elementary to discern that he wasn't a tartiste after they stopped him and he had no pie. Further questioning would reveal he was a lawyer keen on seeing Chretien and at that point they could have released him. That they jailed him leads me to believe that he got belligerent.

The police refusal to apologize also seems shortsighted, though in 2002 BC had not yet adopted the apology legislation. Consequently, making an apology could have been interpreted in any future legal action as an admission of wrongdoing.

Anonymous said...

Let's not start believing the police did what they did because they had to.It's such a copout.
The writer above has decided that Ward must have become belligerant.How does he know? Give us a break. a bunch of guys sworn to protect the public, have guns and maybe some common sense would not inflame the situation. Unfortuantly they do. It's so easy to say the person resisted arrest etc etc. They picked the wrong. To say they didn't know who he was is a bit odd. Any advocater who does a lot of work for the underdog is well known. It's like saying they wouldn't know Bill Tieleman or Phil Rankin. The cops arn't that dumb.Or maybe some are, but some also like to throw their weight around. Sometimes they get caught.

Anonymous said...

Gary Doer is the Premier of Saskatchewan. Do you know what he looks like? Mr. Ward may be well known for his advocacy, but that doesn't mean a beat cop is going to recognize him. There are different types of fame.

The media reported that Mr. Ward "screamed" at the police after they detained him. I would put that in the belligerent category.

I did not say the police "had to" do what they did. By all accounts, they handled this badly, but I can see how it happened and don't think it's fair to paint his arrest as 'ridiculous'.

For what it's worth, I say this as a lawyer myself and not a cop (or even a lawyer who works for cops). God knows lawyers are fallible too.

Bill Tieleman said...

Hate to burst the last poster's bubble but Gary Doer is the premier of Manitoba! Lorne Calvert is the premier of Saskatchewan.

Maybe it's because all those New Democrats look the same.

Anonymous said...

b) jail Ward even after he clearly identified himself as a lawyer?

Hey Bill, since when are lawyers above the law? Let me say just two things: Alan Eaglson 'n' Moe Sihota.


Anonymous said...

When is it a detain able offence to scream at someone, particularly a police officer? If that is the justification for detaining anyone, well know lawyer or Joe Public, the system needs a serious adjustment.