Certification of proposed G20 class action before Ontario Appeal Court

TORONTO -- Ontario's top court will hear arguments on Monday about whether two lawsuits arising out of the mass detentions during the tumultuous G20 summit in 2010 should go ahead as class actions.

See Full Article

Police authorities in Toronto want the Court of Appeal to quash the proceedings, which have already been subject to two lower court rulings. The courts had originally ruled against certifying a class action, but Divisional Court overturned the ruling on initial appeal and instead split the action in two.

In its factum, the police services board argues Divisional Court overstepped its boundaries in expressing concern that the mass arrests could be seen as "one of the hallmarks of a police state" and therefore needed a thorough airing as class actions.

The board argues the original judge was correct in deciding the different behaviour of various summit protesters precluded their being considered a class.

"The Divisional Court translated its expressed concern about overbroad arrests into a common-issues hearing, which does not allow consideration of the individual conduct of those alleging false arrest," the board states in its factum.

"Conduct varied such that determining whether grounds existed in respect of one of the class member's arrests could not determine the answer for all."

The G20 summit over a weekend in June 2010 -- marred by vandalism from several dozen protesters -- saw more than 1,000 people arrested or detained in what was later described as one of the worst violations of civil liberties in Canadian history. Many were kept in appalling conditions at a makeshift detention centre. Almost all were released without charge within 24 hours.

Sherry Good, now lead plaintiff in one of the actions, was among scores of people police "kettled" in the torrential rain at a downtown intersection. Divisional Court also ruled that Thomas Taylor should represent those sent to the east-end detention centre.

Both want damages for false arrest or imprisonment, and violations of their constitutional rights. They maintain a senior officer gave orders for the indiscriminate roundup of anyone present at various downtown locations -- enough to warrant class certification.

"Arrestees included peaceful protesters, bystanders, journalists, legal observers, and Torontonians who were present simply by chance," their factum states.

"Without the possibility of a class action in this situation, police can arrest entire crowds and only risk a few lawsuits from a few determined and well-resourced people."

Lawyer Eric Gillespie, who represents Good, said the idea that the individual conduct of each class member needs to be examined is misguided and counter to well-established precedent.

"There are so many examples of class actions that are radically dissimilar on their facts but have been certified," Gillespie said. "We say this is about as cut and dried as you will ever get."

Co-counsel Murray Klippenstein said the encircling and arrest of large groups of legitimate protesters is illegal, and they should be allowed to sue as a group.

Arguing, as the police are doing, that people are free to sue individually makes little sense and is "just not feasible," Klippenstein said.

"It wouldn't help justice or the protection of Canadian freedoms."

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which is intervening in the appeal, also argues class actions are appropriate.

In green-lighting the two actions, the Divisional Court stressed the broader issue at stake.

"It is important to remember that the police cannot sweep up scores of people just in the hope that one of the persons captured is a person who they believe is engaged in criminal activity," the court said in its ruling.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Iraqi forces facing stiff resistance in western Mosul

    World News CTV News
    SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq -- Iraqi forces pushed deeper into western Mosul Saturday amid stiff resistance from entrenched Islamic State fighters, a commander on the scene said. Special forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said that his troops are "moving very slowly" and that IS fighters are responding with car bombs, snipers and dozens of armed drones. Source
  • Attack on Syrian security forces in Homs kills dozens, prompts airstrikes

    World News CBC News
    Suicide bombers stormed two Syrian security offices in Homs on Saturday, killing dozens with gunfire and explosions including a senior officer and prompting airstrikes against the last rebel-held enclave in the western city. The jihadist rebel alliance Tahrir al-Sham said in a social media post that five suicide bombers had carried out the attack, which it celebrated with the words "thanks be to God," but stopped short of explicitly claiming responsibility. Source
  • TSB investigating Toronto incident involving Air Canada plane

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident involving an Air Canada flight from Halifax that landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday night. A safety board spokeswoman says Flight 623 was carrying 118 people and so far no injuries have been reported. Source
  • No winning ticket for Friday night's $10M Lotto Max draw

    Canada News CTV News
    If you’re feeling lucky you might want to pick up a Lotto Max ticket, because this Friday’s jackpot is going to be a record breaker. Source
  • Zimbabwe's Mugabe marks 93rd birthday in opposition area

    World News CTV News
    MATOPO HILLS, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 93rd birthday Saturday amid granite hills where ancient spirits are said to dwell, defying calls to resign after nearly four decades in power in a region known for opposing the man who says he'll run again in 2018 elections. Source
  • 'Luckiest 2 guys in the Arctic' rescued by military plane training for search and rescue

    Canada News CBC News
    A Royal Canadian Air Force Twin Otter crew out for some search and rescue training accidentally found, and rescued, two Nunavut hunters needing help this week. Thom Doelman, a captain with the Royal Canadian Air Force out of Yellowknife, said the crew was flying near Hall Beach as part of Operation Nunalivut, a sovereignty operation conducted annually in Canada's North. Source
  • Quebec entrepreneurs hope to add positive touch to Oscar nominee gift bags

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Along with luxury vacations, diamond bracelets and personal training sessions, celebrities who receive unofficial gift bags at the Oscars this year will also get a modest offering from Quebec. The famously over-the-top swag bags, whose value usually runs in the six figures, is distributed annually by a Los Angeles-based marketing company to the nominees in the best actor, actress, supporting actor and actress and best director categories. Source
  • Islamic State militants kill 11 in mosque ambush: Afghan official

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- At least 10 police officers and the wife of a police commander were killed in an ambush by Islamic States group militants in northern Zawzjan province, a provincial official said. Mohammad Reza Ghafori, spokesman for the Zawzjan provincial governor, said Saturday that the police officers were ambushed Friday as they were coming out of a mosque. Source
  • One dead, two injured in fire at Ontario youth home

    Canada News CTV News
    KAWARTHA LAKES, Ont. -- Ontario provincial police are investigating a fatal fire at a group home for teenagers in the Kawartha Lakes area. Members of the OPP's Kawartha Lakes Detachment were called to the youth facility northwest of the Village of Oakwook late Friday afternoon. Source
  • Twin attacks on Syrian security buildings kill at least 32

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Twin attacks on two Syrian security offices in the central city of Homs Saturday killed at least 32 people, including a senior security official who heads the feared Military Intelligence services, state media and officials reported. Source