B.C. lawyer vindicated in Chretien pie plot
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, January 4, 2007 10:46PM EST
A B.C. Supreme Court judge awarded more than $10,000 to a Vancouver lawyer suspected in 2002 of conspiring to throw a pie at then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
After a four-year legal battle, Justice David Tysoe on Wednesday found Cameron Ward was wrongfully imprisoned and strip-searched, after the lawyer was arrested during a ceremony to open the Millennium Gate in Vancouver's Chinatown.
"The case was about vindicating my rights as a Canadian citizen to be free from police abuse," Ward told CTV Vancouver on Thursday.
Ward said he was there to watch the ceremony when he was confronted by police, who asked him whether he was planning to throw a pie at the prime minister.
"And I said, 'No of course not.' ... It would never cross my mind to throw a pie at him."
Police arrested Ward because they said he matched the description of a man running down a nearby street and who was reported to have been overheard planning a pie assault.
Police searched the lawyer's car. No pie was found, but Ward's car was towed anyway -- and the lawyer was put in handcuffs and taken to prison where he was strip searched.
The city was ordered to pay $5,000 for wrongful imprisonment, and $100 for the seizure of his car. The province must also pay Ward $5,000 for violating the right to be secure from unreasonable search.
While Ward said he feels vindicated, he's still wondering why he was targeted.
"I'm suspicious, as to why I, a Vancouver lawyer, with an unblemished record, was held in a jail cell for a day," he said.
As a lawyer who often represents political activists and defendants suing the police, Ward said he has his theories. At the time, Ward had just finished representing student protesters at the APEC inquiry. He had also represented demonstrators from the "Riot at the Hyatt." Both cases questioned the use of force by police.
But the judge, in his decision, dismissed suggestions Ward was targeted because of these legal battles.
Tysoe said police sincerely believed Ward had a pie, and that the officers did not act maliciously when they took him into custody and were not negligent or personally liable.
Chretien was the victim of a pie attack in Prince Edward Island in August 2000. A man pied the PM at the Charlottetown Civic Centre as part of what he called a peaceful protest. Evan Brown was arrested and charged with assault for the attack.
As for Ward, he said he will donate his award to charity. The city and the province have 30 days to appeal the decision.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's St. John Alexander