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

  • Sanctions disrupting humanitarian aid to North Korea, UN report says

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - International sanctions on North Korea are taking a serious toll on humanitarian aid activities, according to a United Nations-led report. The report issued this week by the UN's senior resident official in Pyongyang said sanctions are inadvertently hindering legitimate operations on the ground and have indirectly contributed to a "radical decline" in donations it said are badly needed by millions of North Korean women and children. Source
  • Parents of 'no-fly list kids' upset at no funding for redress system

    Canada News CBC News
    Parents of children whose names are on Canada's no-fly lists are upset that no funding from the federal budget has been allocated towards a redress system. "By not funding the establishment of a redress system, the federal government continues to leave at risk the families of over 60 Canadian children of various races, religions, backgrounds and creeds who came forward and hundreds more still afraid to do so," a group called No-Fly List Kids said in a statement released on Twitter…
  • Canada faces risk of homegrown terrorists using vehicles: security experts

    Canada News CTV News
    Security experts say Canada is at risk of homegrown terrorists using vehicles as weapons, following the London attack and reports that a Canadian suspected of ties to ISIS has been arrested in Turkey. In Tuesday’s London attack, 52-year-old Khalid Masood used a rented car to strike pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing the vehicle into a gate. Source
  • Sally Armstrong talks to Lisa LaFlamme about Kenya's fight against rape

    Canada News CTV News
    Canadian journalist Sally Armstrong is documenting efforts to combat a widespread culture of rape in Kenya, where one third of girls fall victim before the age of 18. “Justice Clubs” teach children about their right to be protected from rape. Source
  • U.S., 13 other nations demand Venezuela hold elections soon

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The United States and group of 13 nations across the Americas on Thursday called on Venezuela's government to hold elections and immediately free political prisoners, setting up a potential diplomatic showdown with President Nicolas Maduro's socialist administration. Source
  • Single mom recovering from triple amputation brought on by rare strep throat

    World News Toronto Sun
    WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman is recovering in hospital after developing a rare type of strep throat that forced doctors to amputate both her legs and one of her arms. Cari Kirkness, 28, thought she had come down with the flu when she went to the emergency room at Health Sciences Centre last month. Source
  • Hawaii judge who blocked travel ban target of threats

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Thursday, March 23, 2017 09:34 PM EDT | Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 09:54 PM EDT Source
  • Investigator who leaked chokehold officer's records resigns

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A police watchdog agency investigator who leaked the disciplinary record of a white police officer involved in the chokehold death of unarmed black man Eric Garner resigned on Thursday. The investigator, who was not publicly identified, worked for the Civilian Complaint Review Board for less than a year and had no role in the investigation of any of the disciplinary cases against Officer Daniel Pantaleo that were leaked to the website Thinkprogress.org, the board said. Source
  • 4 dead in Sacramento home, suspect detained in San Francisco

    World News Toronto Sun
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Police found four people, including two children, dead Thursday in a California home and a suspect was in custody, officials said. The four victims were discovered when police broke into the Sacramento home after a relative reported that something might be wrong. Source
  • Snorer in chief?

    World News Toronto Sun
    Washington gossips are agog over reports the new president and first lady have separate bedrooms. The revelation is on the front of the latest US Weekly. The cover photos are of Melania and Donald Trump looking like they just bit down on a lemon. Source