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

  • Lost children rescued after getting trapped overnight on B.C. mountain

    Canada News CTV News
    Two young children who spent the night stranded on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam, B.C., were brought to safety by rescue crews on Monday. Their injured father had been forced to leave them to find help. Source
  • 3 handwritten wills found in Aretha Franklin's home

    World News CBC News
    A lawyer says three handwritten wills have been found in the Detroit-area home of Aretha Franklin, months after her death — including one that was discovered under cushions in the living room. The latest one is dated March 2014 and appears to give the famous singer's assets to family members. Source
  • Architects of post-9-11 CIA interrogation program to testify

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Two former CIA contractors who designed the harsh interrogation program used after the Sept. 11 attacks are being summoned to testify before the military tribunal at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Source
  • Ex-White House lawyer won't testify after Trump direction

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump directed his former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena Monday, citing a Justice Department legal opinion that maintains McGahn would have immunity from testifying about his work as a close Trump adviser. Source
  • Trump tells ex-counsel McGahn: Defy subpoena, don't testify

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump directed his former White House Counsel Don McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena Monday, citing a Justice Department legal opinion that maintains McGahn would have immunity from testifying about his work as a close Trump adviser. Source
  • U.S. warns companies of data threat from Chinese-made drones

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned U.S. firms of the risks to company data from Chinese-made drones, according to a notice reviewed by Reuters on Monday. The notice, titled Chinese Manufactured Unmanned Aircraft Systems, warned that U.S. Source
  • Pediatrician indicted on 65 charges after rape accusation

    World News CTV News
    BALTIMORE -- A Maryland pediatrician accused recently of raping a patient has since been indicted on 65 additional charges, including nine counts of child sex abuse. Frederick County police and prosecutors say a grand jury has indicted Dr. Source
  • Judge rules Trump can't block subpoena of his financial records by Congress

    World News CBC News
    A federal judge in Washington has ruled against U.S. President Donald Trump in a financial records dispute with Congress. Judge Amit Mehta's ruling says Trump cannot block the House subpoena of his financial records. The decision is a setback for the Trump administration amid a widespread effort by the White House and the president's lawyers to refuse to co-operate with congressional requests for information and records. Source
  • Parents can use dead son's frozen sperm to attempt conception, judge rules

    World News CTV News
    WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The parents of a 21-year-old West Point cadet fatally injured in a skiing accident can use his frozen sperm to produce a child, a judge ruled while noting potential ethical considerations. Source
  • Venezuela's Maduro touts re-election anniversary amid political standoff

    World News CBC News
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday celebrated the anniversary of his disputed re-election amid a growing humanitarian crisis and political upheaval. Maduro tweeted that the May 20, 2018, election, was a "victory" for Venezuelans, though the opposition and many countries have derided it as unfair. Source