London man su­ing Wood­stock po­lice

Thanks to court rul­ing, Ever­ton Brown’s law­suit can’t be tossed for missing a dead­line THES­TAR. COM/ GTA

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO - Jim Rankin STAFF RE­PORTER

Ever­ton Brown al­ways in­tended to sue the Wood­stock po­lice of­fi­cers he al­leges beat and re­peat­edly shocked him dur­ing an ar­rest five years ago, but he took the ad­vice of his crim­i­nal lawyer and waited un­til the charges against him played out in court.

The crim­i­nal case ended more than two years later with no con­vic­tions and all of the se­ri­ous charges against him — ob­struct­ing and re­sist­ing po­lice, and pos­ses­sion of crack co­caine and pro­ceeds of crime — be­ing with­drawn, pro­vided he agree to a peace bond that in­volved him “keep­ing the peace” and stay­ing out of Wood­stock for a year.

In May 2016, sue, he did, launch­ing a $1.75-mil­lion suit al­leg­ing he was as­saulted, il­le­gally ar­rested and de­tained and il­le­gally searched. The 51year-old London man did so more than two years af­ter the al­leged as­sault by po­lice, plac­ing it be­yond the nor­mal twoyear limit for mak­ing such a claim.

For that rea­son, po­lice ar­gued his suit should be tossed.

But re­cent court de­ci­sions by the On­tario Court of Ap­peal — and the Supreme READ THE FULL STORY AT Court of Canada de­ci­sions not to re­visit them — came down in Brown’s favour, as well as for an­other man fac­ing a sim­i­lar sce­nario, and also in­volv­ing the Wood­stock Po­lice Ser­vice.

Es­sen­tially, the two- year lim­i­ta­tions clock in cases like this now starts tick­ing when crim­i­nal charges are dis­posed of, rather than at the date of an ar­rest. The rul­ings re­verse a stan­dard that ef­fec­tively pre­vented some vic­tims of al- leged po­lice abuses from be­ing able to seek com­pen­sa­tion in civil court.

Be­fore th­ese rul­ings, po­ten­tial com­plainants would have to pro­ceed through the no­to­ri­ously slow crim­i­nal court sys­tem in or­der to first see any ev­i­dence against them that might in­form their de­ci­sion to sue — while also de­fend­ing against those charges.

In Septem­ber, the Supreme Court of Canada re­fused to hear ap­peals by po­lice in Brown’s case and that of Robert Win­mill, af­firm­ing a 2017 On­tario Court of Ap­peal de­ci­sion in Win­mill’s case that “it makes sense” for peo­ple to fo­cus on crim­i­nal charges and “deal with those be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion about a civil ac­tion” against po­lice.

“It’s a wa­ter­shed case,” says Toronto lawyer Os­borne Brown­well, who is rep­re­sent­ing Brown in the civil case.

JIM RANKIN/ TORONTO STAR

Ever­ton Brown, 51, is su­ing the Wood­stock Po­lice Ser­vice over his 2013 ar­rest. He al­leges po­lice as­saulted him, de­tained him and il­le­gally searched him.

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