Police chief apologizes to Klassen

SASKATOON — Saskatoon Police Chief Russell Sabo on Wednesday apologized in person to Richard Klassen, who, along with 11 others, last month won a malicious prosecution lawsuit against Saskatoon police Supt. Brian Dueck.

The meeting occurred just hours after Klassen participated in a demonstration at Premier Lorne Calvert’s Saskatoon constituency office, where the provincial government was urged to address cases of injustice and crimes against marginalized citizens.

Sabo made a public apology last week but the two men were not able to have a face-to-face meeting until Wednesday, Klassen said.

“I accepted his apology and felt good about it,” Klassen said later.

Klassen, Diane Kvello and members of their families won the judgment last month against Dueck, Crown prosecutor Matthew Miazga and therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys, who were involved in prosecuting them in the early 1990s on false accusations of sexually abusing foster children.

The province has begun the process to appeal the Dec. 30, 2003 verdict by Justice George Baynton, prompting protests from the plaintiffs, who believed they had an agreement that would forestall an appeal until after damages were determined.

Government lawyer, Donald McKillop had a different interpretation of the agreement. The matter will be addressed in chambers at Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon on Jan. 21.

Klassen said Wednesday’s meeting with Sabo went “very well,” and he is satisfied with Sabo’s assurance that a law firm will conduct an arm’s-length investigation into the way Dueck handled the case. The investigation will include complaints Klassen filed against Dueck with the police in 1993 and ’94.

“Just looking in his eyes and seeing his sincerity made me feel good. I think the police force is well on its way to some major change,” Klassen said.

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