|By Marketwired .||
|August 7, 2014 01:58 PM EDT||
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/07/14 -- In a decision released late yesterday, a panel of three divisional court judges ruled that an estimated 900 people who were allegedly wrongfully detained and arrested by police during the G20 summit in 2010 can have their legal claims heard together as a class action. The court also ruled that claims on behalf of the over 800 people who were detained in the makeshift G20 detention facility can also proceed as a related class action. This ruling overturns the ruling of last May that did not approve the class action.
The court acknowledged the very serious issues of police conduct and violations of free speech that are raised by the G20 lawsuit.
Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Nordheimer stated:
"If the appellant's central allegation is proven, the conduct of the police violated a basic tenet of how police in a free and democratic society are expected to conduct themselves. Their actions, if proven, constitute an egregious breach of the individual liberty interests of ordinary citizens. On this view of the respondent's conduct, it is not hyperbole to see it as being akin to one of the hallmarks of a police state, where the suppression of speech, that is uncomfortable for those in positions of power, is made a prime objective of those whose job it is to police the public."
"We are gratified by the court's decision to allow the class action to proceed," said Sherry Good, one of the representative plaintiffs for the class action. "When I was boxed-in by the police in the torrential rain at Queen & Spadina with hundreds of other ordinary citizens, I believed that what the police were doing was very wrong. The class action can now move forward and hopefully bring some measure of peace and comfort to the many people that suffered because of the police actions that weekend. I am very pleased that we can continue to work towards police accountability for what they did to us."
"I am looking forward to the next stages of the lawsuit and to justice for the many individuals that suffered because of the police actions during the G20 weekend," said Tommy Taylor, the other representative plaintiff. "During the G20 weekend hundreds of people were arrested and taken to the makeshift G20 detention centre, where many were held for 24 hours or more in overcrowded wire cages and in freezing temperatures without enough food or water. All of this just because we exercised our right to speak freely. Most Canadians that I have spoken with cannot believe that this happened here. It should not be allowed to happen again".
"The G20 Class Action is the first class action based on mass or group arrests in common law Canada," said Eric Gillespie, co-counsel for the plaintiffs along with Klippensteins law firm. "We are pleased that the court recognized the importance of the fundamental rights that the G20 class action is seeking to affirm and protect, including the democratic right of ordinary citizens to publicly speak their minds."
"It is particularly important that the court's ruling specifically noted '...it is important to remember that the police cannot sweep up scores of people just in the hope that one of the persons captured is a person who they believe is engaged in criminal activity,'" said Kent Elson of Klippensteins law firm. "We hope that the next steps in the lawsuit will shine a light on the inner workings of the G20 police operation so that the public can find out the truth about the police actions during the 2010 G20 summit."
The court's ruling can be found here: http://www.g20classaction.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Divisional-Court-Ruling-August-6-2014.pdf.
Eric K. Gillespie Professional Corporation
Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors
(416) 598-0288 or (416) 937-8634
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