Klassen asks for interim payments

Richard Klassen intends to apply for interim payments on an award for damages once the amount is set by the courts, he said Tuesday.

He hopes that today, a Queen’s Bench judge will go ahead and set a date for a trial to determine the award in the malicious prosecution lawsuit he and 11 others won in December.

“We’re asking for some time shortly after March 6 that our damages trial be set,” Klassen said.

Klassen wants the court to determine the award before the matter goes to appeal, so plaintiffs can apply to have some of the money paid out while the lengthy appeal process is ongoing, he said in an interview.

The plaintiffs sought in excess of $10 million for being prosecuted on false accusations of sexual and ritual abuse and for having those accusations brand them for a year and a half.

“We will apply for interim payments once damages are (set). There is such a thing as interim payments to be paid out. We would be applying for that . . . so we could afford to continue to go on,” Klassen said.

Klassen, Diane Kvello and 10 other members of their families, won the civil suit against Crown prosecutor Matthew Miazga, police Supt. Brian Dueck and child therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys on Dec. 30, when Justice George Baynton ruled the prosecution had been “a travesty of justice.”

The provincial government announced Jan. 8 it will appeal the decision, a move that drew outrage from Klassen, who understood that an order by Justice Mona Dovell prohibited an appeal from beginning before damages were determined.

Donald McKillop, who represented Miazga and Bunko-Ruys, understood the order simply removed the usual 60-day deadline for filing appeals.

Klassen laid a complaint against McKillop with the Law Society of Saskatchewan, which regulates the legal profession.

Klassen alleged that McKillop made an agreement to not file an appeal until the damages were set and that Duvall’s order was the response to a mutual request for such an order. Klassen alleges McKillop is now reneging on the deal.

“He’s an officer of the court who entered into a deal and is now trying to sidestep that deal. . . . I think it’s wrong and I think the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal should deal with it, as well as the Law Society,” Klassen said.

On Tuesday, the Law Society of Saskatchewan informed Klassen he will get no help from them: they agree with McKillop’s interpretation.

The law society will wait until the appeal process is complete before looking into Klassen’s complaint, its general counsel, Allan Snell, wrote in a letter dated Jan. 16.

“It would appear to us that the Order of Madam Justice Dovell simply provides for a stay in the running of the time during which an appeal must be commenced, rather than prohibiting an appeal being taken prior to the agreement or adjudication on damages and costs.

“We may be wrong on this,” Snell wrote.

“However, as the matter will be heard by the Court of Appeal, who will make the determination as to the interpretation of the order in question, it is appropriate that the law society defer to the court,” Snell wrote.

Klassen’s bid to set a trial date to determine the amount of his award will be the subject of a hearing today at Court of Queen’s Bench.

The appeal court meets to address questions on the timing of the appeal Jan. 28 in Regina.

Klassen hopes the appeal court will send the matter back to Dovell for clarification. He believes that would result in the damages trial going ahead, before the appeal.

The Crown can appeal after the damages are set, he said.

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