A. Cameron Ward Barristers and Solicitors » Opinion
A. Cameron Ward
Vancouver BC
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In a recent CTV News story, BC’s Minister of Justice Shirley Bond told CTV’s Jon Woodward that “there is every intention to provide redress” to our client Ivan Henry.

Mr. Henry was acquitted of ten counts of sexual assault by the British Columbia Court of Appeal on October 27, 2010 after spending more than 27 years in jail. Mr. Justice Low of the Court of Appeal wrote:

” The process of identification was polluted so as to render in-court identification of the appellant on each count highly questionable and unreliable on the reasonable doubt standard. I consider the verdicts to be unsafe.
In my opinion, the verdict on each count was not one that a properly instructed jury acting judicially could reasonably have rendered.”
The government paid nothing to Mr. Henry to compensate him for his wrongful conviction. Consequently, on June 28, 2011 we filed a Notice of Civil Claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, naming the Attorneys General of BC and Canada as defendants, as well as the Vancouver police who had been involved in the investigation of the crimes. At a case management conference on January 22, 2013, Mr. Justice Goepel directed that the civil trial, estimated to last 12 weeks, would commence September 8, 2014.

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More than a half a million Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals were minted to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the monarch’s reign, with 60,000 of those handed out to deserving Canadians.  If you weren’t one of the worthy recipients, not to worry.  At least nine are being offered for sale on eBay today by an Ottawa area retailer called “Militaria Express”.  There is no indication whether any of the trinkets came from disgraced Sen. Patrick Brazeau’s personal allotment. 

Each Canadian Senator and MP was given 30 medals to distribute as he or she saw fit.  The rest, almost 50,000 in total, were delivered to others to allocate, including the Canadian Forces (11,000), the RCMP (2,300), municipalities (4,000) and various non-governmental organizations (10,000).  These NGOs include the Monarchist League of Canada, REAL Women of Canada and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, to name but a few.

I don’t always find myself in agreement with Toronto Sun columnist Warren Kinsella, but it is hard to dispute his recent assessment that the award process is a “fiasco”, a “joke”, a “disgrace” and a “scandal…deserving of further investigation”.

If you really want one of these baubles, I suggest waiting awhile…the current $180 asking price on eBay may well come down.

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The criminal trial of five men accused of murder, rape and kidnapping in a notorious case began today in New Delhi.  It is noteworthy that less than two months have elapsed since the horrific incident, which occurred on December 16, 2012.  A similar case here in British Columbia would take at least two years, not two months, to get to trial.

Our criminal justice system isn’t necessarily better than India’s, but it certainly is slower.

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The Police Complaint Commissioner’s appeal of the lower court decision quashing a public hearing into the complaint concerning the conduct of two Vancouver police officers begins today.  VPD constables Nicholas Florkow and Bryan London were responding to a complaint in the early morning hours of January 21, 2010 when they went to the wrong address.  They awakened resident Yao Wei Wu, then 44, from his slumber and badly injured him after he opened the door.  We acted as counsel for Mr. Wu in his civil action for damages for assault and battery, which was settled last year just before it went to trial.  However, we are playing no role in the current proceedings, as it has been established that the complainant (victim) in such cases has no standing to enable counsel to participate in the hearing on his or her behalf.

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An unidentified man apparently remains in hospital as a result of injuries sustained while members of the Vancouver Police Department “attempted to subdue” him a month ago.  The circumstances of this matter, which ought to concern members of the public, remain mysterious and neither the VPD nor the Independent Investigations Office (the new provincial agency created to investigate incidents of serious harm arising from police involvement) is saying anything.  A cryptic IIO news release from January 15, 2013 raises more questions than it answers:

“At approximately 11:30 AM on Dec. 30, 2012, the VPD attended a residence in response to a complaint.  Once there, officers located a 26 year old male who was reportedly distressed and exhibiting aggressive behaviour.  Police attempted to subdue the man in order to transport him to hospital.  During the altercation with officers, the man sustained injuries and was admitted to hospital where he remains.

The IIO was notified at 12:30 PM on Dec. 31, 2012.  At that time, the extent of the man’s injuries was not clear. Over the following days, IIO investigative staff met with the affected person’s family and medical team to determine if his injuries met the statutory definition of “serious harm”.

On Jan. 10, 2013, upon further review of the information, the Chief Civilian Director asserted jurisdiction.  Eleven IIO staff have been assigned including the Senior Investigator, Affected Persons who will provide support to the man and his family…..No further information is available at this time.”


Who is this man?  Has he been charged with any offence?  Was he breaking any law when he was “subdued”?  Is he still in hospital today, a full month later?  What are his injuries?  Why did the VPD wait thirteen hours to report the matter to the IIO, when the law requires “immediate” notification?

The police are accountable to the public, at least in theory.  The public deserves a full accounting in this serious matter and we deserve it now.  The IIO was never intended to be something the police could use to cloak their actions in secrecy.  If that is what is going to happen, we need to revisit its very existence.

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