Kirk Boggs comments on the overturning of a $1.6 million judgment against Thunder Bay Police
The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled a trial judge should have considered expert evidence in determining standard of care in a negligence claim against the police.
The court overturned a $1.6-million judgment against the Thunder Bay Police Services Board and officer Frank Barclay that had been awarded to Ricardo Mercuri and his business, Central Auto Parts.
Mercuri brought a negligence claim against the police after he and his business were the subject of a 1997 investigation into stolen vehicles and auto parts. Mercuri was charged, but later found not guilty after a number of charges were withdrawn.
The trial judge in Mercuri’s civil lawsuit, Justice Helen Pierce, found the Thunder Bay police did not meet the standard of care in their investigation, but the Court of Appeal ruled Pierce had erred by rejecting expert evidence in her determination.
Kirk Boggs, a lawyer with Lerners LLP who represented the police on the appeal, says Pierce’s rejection of expert evidence raised the standard of care from reasonable and probable grounds to a requirement to prove guilt.
“When you’re evaluating a case like this, where there’s an allegation of negligent investigation, the court really requires expert evidence to help understand what the standard of care is in the circumstances of this case and whether the police officers met it,” he says.