Ontario settles lawsuit with convicted killer Richard Wills

TORONTO -- Ontario has settled a lawsuit with convicted murderer Richard Wills, who killed his lover and hid her remains then billed taxpayers $1.3 million for his defence.

See Full Article

After spending seven years trying to recoup some of the money Wills' lawyers billed Legal Aid -- assistance the former Toronto police officer got despite his personal wealth -- the government has now called it a day.

An assessment hearing in 2013, a separate process from the lawsuit, reduced Wills' lawyers' bills by $219,892.25, said Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General.

"Ontario aggressively pursued Mr. Wills and his lawyers in order to recover money for the taxpayers," he said in an emailed statement.

"In light of the successful assessments, and given that Mr. Wills is in prison, the Crown has now settled the civil action."

Wills was convicted in 2007 of killing Linda Mariani, his longtime lover. His trial heard that he hit her in the head with a baseball bat and used a skipping rope to strangle her, stuffed her body in a garbage can and sealed it behind a wall in his basement for nearly four months.

Wills was once a millionaire, but following his 2002 arrest he systematically got rid of his assets in order to qualify for legal aid.

When the government launched its lawsuit against Wills in 2008, it accused the former cop of "unjust enrichment" through "fraudulent conveyance" of several properties to family members. He also signed over his police pension to his wife.

"Wills took steps to divest himself of all his assets in order to appear impecunious and thereby eligible for state-funded counsel," the suit alleged.

The saga didn't end with his self-imposed poverty.

Wills' behaviour at his preliminary hearing was so outrageous no lawyer was willing to take his case at regular legal aid rates, then about $93 an hour. The judge ordered the attorney general to fund the cost of his defence at an enhanced rate of $200 an hour.

The 2013 assessment decisions chalked more than $200,000 up to overbilling, but that still leaves the total tab at $1 million.

Crawley would not say how much money, if any, Wills will repay as a result of the settlement.

The lawsuit was handled by government lawyers so there were no additional legal costs to the province, Crawley said.

Wills' unusual behaviour continued through the trial, insulting the various lawyers who tried to represent him, as well as the judge, occasionally using racist and sexist obscenities. He also threatened to beat up the prosecutors.

On a number of occasions he reportedly urinated in the police car that shuttled him to court. Another time he loudly complained in court about his filthy clothes, and when he was ignored he either defecated or pulled excrement from his underwear.

He had to be moved to a different room with a video link to the proceedings due to the disruptions.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Royal Caribbean announces nine-month world cruise

    World News CTV News
    It would've been unthinkable 12 months ago as the cruise industry reeled from the effects of COVID, but one operator is now offering an epic new voyage that will last nine months and take travelers to more than 150 destinations. Source
  • EU unconvinced by Polish arguments on rule of law changes

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- Polish arguments that fundamental judicial changes the country has made would not undermine the European Union on Friday failed to convince key bloc leaders who said that the withholding of billions in EU recovery funds would likely continue unless Warsaw falls back into line. Source
  • Crown contemplating charges in toppling of statues at Manitoba legislature

    Canada News CTV News
    Winnipeg - The Winnipeg Police Service has sent the findings of its investigation into the toppling of two statues on the Manitoba legislative grounds on Canada Day to the Crown attorney’s office to determine if charges will be laid. Source
  • U.S. Supreme Court will hear challenge to Texas ban on most abortions, but law remains in effect

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge by President Joe Biden's administration and abortion providers to a restrictive Texas law that imposes a near-total ban on abortion, and set the date for arguments in the case for Nov. Source
  • Luxembourg to become first country in Europe to legalize cannabis

    World News CTV News
    Luxembourg is set to become the first European nation to legalize the growing and use of cannabis, the government announced in a statement on Friday. Under the new legislation, adults over 18 in Luxembourg will be allowed to use cannabis, and to grow up to four plants per household, which would make it the first country in Europe to fully legalize the production and consumption of the drug. Source
  • Appeal for B.C. woman convicted in 8-year-old daughter's death dismissed

    Canada News CTV News
    Warning: Disturbing content. VANCOUVER -- The appeal of a B.C. mother convicted of second-degree murder in the death of an eight-year-old girl has been dismissed. Lisa Batstone learned the decision Friday relating to the suffocating death of her daughter, Teagan. Source
  • What are prop guns and how are they dangerous? Alec Baldwin incident raises concerns

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Firearms experts say it is rare for someone to be killed from a prop gun while filming a movie or TV show as a weapons master or armourer is mandated to be on set to ensure everyone's safety, in addition to providing rigorous training and gun handling to actors beforehand. Source
  • Not the time to 'freely go wherever,' says Tam as non-essential travel advisory lifts

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Canadians should carefully weigh any future decisions on taking foreign trips even though the federal government has lifted a global advisory asking them to avoid non-essential travel, health officials cautioned Friday. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said the government would be providing more specific information about the severity of COVID-19 in various countries to help Canadians decide where they should consider travelling. Source
  • U.S. Supreme Court doesn't block Texas abortion law, sets hearing

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court is not immediately blocking the Texas law that bans most abortions, but has agreed to hear arguments in the case in early November. The justices said Friday they will decide whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law. Source
  • Health-care worker fired for drinking can't challenge termination using Human Rights Code: Supreme Court

    Canada News CBC News
    A Manitoba health-care worker who was fired from her job for drinking alcohol cannot challenge her termination under her province's Human Rights Code, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled. The ruling sided with the employer's argument that disputes between a unionized employee and an employer on an issue covered by a collective agreement, can only be settled by a labour arbitrator working with both parties. Source