SASKATOON — While lawyers try to figure out what happens next in a malicious prosecution lawsuit, Richard Klassen is filing a complaint with the Law Society of Saskatchewan against provincial government lawyer Don McKillop.
“It’s a straightforward complaint saying that I believe he was unethical and is actually somewhat in contempt of court outside of the court,” said Klassen in an interview Monday.
Last month, Justice George Baynton ruled in favour of Klassen and 11 extended family members who had sued Crown prosecutor Matt Miazga, therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys and Saskatoon police Supt. Brian Dueck for malicious prosecution in relation to allegations made by three children.
McKillop, who represents Miazga and Bunko-Ruys, said in a news conference last week that he would be asking for clarification on how to proceed with an appeal of Baynton’s ruling. A judge will hear that application on Jan. 28.
During a conference call on Monday, Justice George Baynton called a meeting in open court to decide the situation. Klassen, Borden, McKillop and Dueck’s lawyer David Gerrand are to appear in Court of Queen’s Bench on Jan. 21.
Klassen says McKillop is breaking a promise he made last March. In an order dated March 28, 2003, all the lawyers involved in the lawsuit agreed to split the proceedings up, with the damages portion of the trial following the main portion.
The order, made by Madam Justice Mona Dovell, states that if the defendants are found liable, the standard appeal period of 30 days will be disregarded, pending a decision on damages and costs.
Klassen says that means the damages have to be decided before McKillop or David Gerrand, Dueck’s lawyer, can launch an appeal. Gerrand has not indicated any plans to appeal.
“I just think it’s an unethical move for a lawyer, an officer of the court, to make a promise to a Queen’s Bench judge and then go behind her back outside of court and announce that they’re not going to abide by that order,” said Klassen.
“They’re going to try to sidestep this, sidestep the order and go to a higher court. That’s not ethical,” he said.
Klassen said McKillop is simply trying to avoid further bad publicity.
“They’re trying to stop the public from hearing the damages that were done to my family,” said Klassen. Klassen has represented himself over the years, despite not having any legal training.
McKillop said on Thursday that the measure was simply one of procedure.
“That decision as to which order to take the remaining steps is a decision for the court of appeal,” he told reporters.
“That’s a large part of why we’ll be putting that before a judge of that court on the 28th — to get certainty on the timing of the next step.”
Don Morgan, the Saskatchewan Party’s justice critic, says the Klassen family has suffered enough and should receive some sort of compensation from the province without delay.
“It’s just going on and on,” he said in an interview Monday.
“It just almost seems as though they are persecuting them.”
On Thursday, McKillop said his clients were simply availing themselves of the option to appeal.
“It’s not the wish or intention of my clients in taking the steps in bringing the appeal to cause further grief or trauma or stress to any of the plaintiffs,” McKillop said.
McKillop has declined further media interviews on the Klassen case, saying he prefers not to try the matter in the media.
Klassen plans to file the complaint today.
Russ Buglass, a University of Saskatchewan law professor, says the complaint will likely not have any impact on the Klassen case.
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