The Court of Appeal issued reasons for judgment today which upheld the decision of the trial judge in the civil case arising from my arrest, strip search, wrongful detention and seizure of my car after Vancouver police somehow mistook me for someone who was conspiring to throw a pie at Prime Minister Chretien at a ceremony in Vancouver’s Chinatown in August of 2002.

Read the decision here: 2009 BCCA 23 Ward v. British Columbia

A few comments:

I am extremely grateful for the work of my lawyers, especially Brian Samuels, who took the lead for the six day trial and two day appeal and did terrific work on my behalf. I hope that this case encourages others to stand up for their rights.

The learned trial judge said I was “mistaken” about the events leading to my arrest by three Vancouver police officers. I certainly wasn’t, and this finding drives home the difficulty a citizen faces when it’s his word against the word of, in this case, three police officers.

The Court of Appeal decision leaves the impression that I initiated the appeal. I didn’t. After I won at trial, the Province filed an appeal against the Court’s decision to award me $5,000 for the unlawful strip search that breached my Charter rights. After receiving notice that the Province was taking that step, I challenged aspects of the trial decision that I disagreed with.

My formal complaint lodged with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner was dismissed as “unsubstantiated”. How could this be, if the courts found my rights were violated? Simply put, because the police investigated the police.

Finally, the City of Vancouver, which is responsible for the actions of its police, had at least two opportunities to avoid this lengthy and expensive litigation by simply providing an apology. I made it clear I would accept an apology a short time after the incident and again shortly before trial. The offer to drop the case for an apology was rejected both times.