Court sides with Klassen

Compensation trial to proceed without delays

REGINA — The trial to decide compensation amounts for Richard Klassen and 11 other malicious prosecution victims will proceed as planned in September, after the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejected the provincial government’s attempt to delay matters.

Klassen, representing himself, and lawyer Robert Borden, who represented the other 11 victims, declared another victory, but said they’ll continue to press for some or all of their compensation in the interim.

“I’d like to end it. Let me out of here,” Klassen said in Regina following the afternoon hearing at the courthouse.

“Let’s get paid out and get out of here.”

Government lawyer Don McKillop, who represents prosecutor Matthew Miazga and therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys, wanted an adjournment to the six-week compensation trial, scheduled for Sept. 13. He said the appeal launched by the government and by David Gerrand, who represents police officer Brian Dueck, should be heard first.

That would require a delay in the compensation hearing, because the transcript from the malicious prosecution trial has not yet been typed.

Court of Appeal Justice Cal Tallis turned down McKillop’s motion, and ordered the September hearing to proceed as planned.

“Mr. McKillop has not persuaded me that I should stay the Queen’s Bench proceedings,” Tallis said.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate.”

In other minor motions heard Thursday, Tallis granted one-week extensions to various parties seeking to file appeals or other motions.

Also Thursday afternoon, Justice Minister Frank Quennell told reporters he’d instructed his officials to arrange a meeting with Klassen and Borden.

He said officials will welcome proposals, but the meeting is not to discuss compensation or to apologize. Quennell said he didn’t take lightly the decision to appeal the case, given the impact it has on various parties.

“I have no interest in making life more difficult for the Klassen and Kvello families,” Quennell said.

But now that the appeal is launched, he doesn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize that appeal or admit wrongdoing by any government officials.

However, Klassen and Borden say an apology and immediate compensation talks are exactly what’s needed.

Klassen had threatened to conduct a sit-in at the legislature Monday if a meeting was not arranged, and vowed to follow through if the meeting is not held by Monday.

Klassen and more than a dozen of his immediate and extended family members were wrongly accused of sexually abusing three foster children in the early 1990s. The bizarre allegations included detailed accounts of satanic ritual abuse, which included animal and human sacrifice, as well as claims the children had been forced to eat feces and drink urine.

Queen’s Bench Justice George Baynton ruled in December that Miazga, Bunko-Ruys, and Dueck maliciously prosecuted them.

The parties will meet in court again in September to decide a compensation amount. The lawsuit is seeking in excess of $10 million.

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