A. Cameron Ward Barristers and Solicitors » Cameron Ward
A. Cameron Ward
Vancouver BC
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Betty Krawczyk, the seventy-five year old environmental activist who was recently convicted of criminal contempt of court after she refused to obey a civil court injunction order, is apparently going to be sentenced on October 8, 2003. A hearing has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, but neither Ms. Krawczyk nor her lawyer have received confirmation that the sentencing will take place then.

Ms. Krawczyk, who has appealed her conviction, is being held in custody at the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women.

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Chief Jamie Graham held a rare Saturday news conference yesterday to reveal yet more alleged misconduct within the ranks of the VPD. Graham calls the latest revelation, allegations of brutality on the Downtown Eastside and of lying to the court, an ‘isolated incident’.

This latest ‘isolated incident’ comes on the heels of the following:

  • Six VPD members are facing criminal charges after allegedly taking people to Stanley Park and beating them;
  • Videotape footage outside a cancelled Guns ‘N Roses concert showed VPD members attacking civilians;
  • Pivot Legal Society disclosed that 50 people had sworn affidavits detailing VPD brutality on the Downtown Eastside;
  • A public hearing has been ordered into the death of Jeff Berg while in the hands of the VPD;
  • An investigation has been ordered into the death of Frank Paul while in VPD custody;
  • Six VPD members faced a public hearing, and four admitted misconduct for trashing a house on Vancouver’s East side while executing a search warrant;
  • An external investigation continues on allegations that the VPD used excessive force when members of its crowd control unit beat people outside the Hyatt Hotel.

After this many ‘isolated incidents’, could there possibly be a systemic problem within the VPD?

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On October 27, 2003, BC lawyers will have a chance to cast an historic vote. For the first time ever, the Benchers of the Law Society have submitted a fee resolution to the membership which does not include a mandatory CBA fee component.

The Law Society’s initiative comes after five separate lawsuits challenged the validity of the mandatory payment scheme.

Those who take time out to attend the mid day meeting (typically less than 5% of the membership) will also be considering a resolution by CBA supporters that would have the effect of continuing the mandatory CBA fee.

Some additional facts on mandatory CBA fees:

  • New Brunswick is the only other province that has ever forced its lawyers to pay the CBA. Everywhere else in Canada, lawyers are free to choose whether or not to join or financially support the CBA.
  • Ontario’s Benchers recently rejected the concept of mandatory CBA fees.
  • The CBA describes itself as a “voluntary organization”.
  • The Law Society has collected CBA fees as part of the annual practice fee even though it and the CBA are separate and unrelated organizations.
  • The CBA seeks to collect about $4 million from BC lawyers for 2004.
  • Each year, the BC Branch of the CBA spends about $1 million on “activities”.
  • The CBA does not disclose how much it pays its Executive Director or the Executive Director of its BC Branch.
  • The BC Branch spent about $450,000 to create its website, www.bccba.org.

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Statements of Defence filed

September 26, 2003 in Opinion

The Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Board have now filed Statements of Defence in response to the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim that were filed on June 18, 2003. As expected, these defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing. The plaintiffs have alleged, on behalf of themselves and all others who have been strip-searched at the Vancouver Jail since December 6, 2001, that such searches are routinely done at the jail in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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A Coroner’s Inquest will be held during the week of January 12-16, 2004 into the circumstances surrounding the death of Thomas Evon Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson was shot and killed by two members of the Vancouver Police Department on December 7, 2002 as he sat inside a disabled vehicle on East Pender Street in Vancouver. Mr. Stevenson’s family welcomes this development and looks forward to obtaining some answers into how the incident occurred.

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