Judge throws out lawyer's claim against police
An Ontario judge has dismissed a $5.4-million negligence claim brought by a lawyer against the Brantford Police Services Board.
In Painter v. Richardson, Ernest Painter claimed an investigation conducted by officer Ronald Richardson into fraud allegations was negligent and that his law practice had closed down in 1994 as a result of the criminal charges he faced.
Superior Court Justice Gerald Taylor, however, found Richardson’s investigation did not fall below the standard of a reasonable police officer at the time of the investigation. Lawyers say the decision serves as a reminder of the high threshold that must be met to bring a successful negligence claim against police.
Stuart Zacharias, a lawyer who has defended police in negligence claims, says the decision emphasizes the importance of the fact that the Crown reviewed and approved the charges and went ahead with the preliminary enquiry.
“Let’s not forget that the police are just one set of actors in the criminal justice system,” says Zacharias, a partner with Lerners LLP, who was not involved in the Painter case