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Old 01-20-2010, 06:50 PM   #1
bmdbley'sBro
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Are our charter rights worth anything? a pie case tells us



damages for every breach of the charter would create a new kind of liability," lawyers for the city argue.awarding damages in cases where the state acted in good faith when violating the charter, would "have a chilling effect on public officials, especially in the law enforcement context."




Quote:

Pie plot case serves up charter debate to Supreme Court




OTTAWA -- A legal battle that began with an alleged plot to throw a pie at former prime minister Jean Chretien reaches the Supreme Court of Canada on Monday as it considers whether litigants can be financially compensated when their charter rights are violated.

The City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia will warn the court against awarding damages to Alan Cameron Ward, a wrongly accused Vancouver lawyer.

They argue it would set an unjust precedent for claimants to secure cash for breaches of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms even if they suffered no financial loss.

"Availability of damages for every breach of the charter would create a new kind of liability," lawyers for the city argue in a written brief to the Supreme Court.

The city contends that awarding damages in cases where the state acted in good faith when violating the charter, would "have a chilling effect on public officials, especially in the law enforcement context."

Mr. Ward comes to the Supreme Court armed with two victories in the B.C. courts, which ordered the city and the province to pay him $10,000 in damages for his August 2002 arrest, when he was jailed for about four hours and strip searched.

Police, after receiving a tip from a Chretien staffer that someone was planning a pie attack, arrested Mr. Ward as he was walking in the vicinity of a public ceremony attended by the prime minister.

The city and the province were also ordered to pay $100 for seizing Ward's car, in which no pie was found.

Mr. Ward sued the city for the police actions, and the province for the strip search, carried out by provincial jail guards.

"I was handcuffed, thrown in a police wagon, strip-searched and jailed, and my car was seized from where it was lawfully parked, all because Vancouver police were apparently concerned that I matched the description of someone who had been overheard using the word "pie" in the same sentence as the phrase "prime minister," Mr. Ward wrote on his website.

He was then hauled to jail, stripped searched and put in an empty, metre-wide cell for most of the afternoon, says his written legal brief to the Supreme Court. Finally, with no evidence against him, and no crime having even occurred, Mr. Ward was released.

"To add insult to injury, his simple request for an apology was denied," Mr. Ward's lawyer, Brian Samuels, said in the written submission.

Mr. Samuels contends that judges hearing such cases should retain their discretion to award damages for charter breaches in appropriate cases.

The trial judge in Mr. Ward's case ruled that police officers acted in good faith because they sincerely believed that Mr. Ward intended to assault the prime minister. The judge, however, awarded damages for two charter breaches -- the right against arbitrary imprisonment and to be secure from an unreasonable search.

The appeal court also sided with Mr. Ward, ruling that government immunity against lawsuits is restricted to charter violations under legislation that is later declared unconstitutional.

One judge dissented in the appeal, concluding that damages for charter breaches, in the absence of bad faith, are inappropriate because damages are meant to censure the wrongdoer rather than compensate the wronged person.

The case, which could have potentially high stakes, has drawn nine interveners, including the federal government, Ontario, Quebec, police groups, civil libertarians, criminal lawyers and the Toronto-based Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.


Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/sto...#ixzz0dC9OyylU
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is our charter a worthless piece of paper, when it comes to arbitrary arrest, detainment, stripsearches, etc. or are we respected as human beings with rights? chattle cattle or citizens
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