A Yukon Supreme Court judge has made two interim rulings in a lawsuit against the RCMP and two officers by a Carcross man who was assaulted by one of them in 2015, moving the case one step closer to possible resolution.
Duke Beattie sued Const. Jason Potter, the officer who assaulted him in the back of the RCMP police cruiser, Const. Daniel Rouleau, who was present during the assault, the RCMP and the federal government in 2017.
Beattie’s statement of claim, which has been amended twice since being filed, says that Potter grabbed him “by the neck and hit the Plaintiff’s head with force and a closed fist multiple times while telling the Plaintiff that he was going to kill him.”
The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Beattie suffered lasting mental and physical injuries, that Rouleau failed to stop the assault and that the RCMP did not train Potter and Rouleau properly.
The defendants have denied those claims, and, in a statement of defence, say that the assault was provoked by Beattie threatening to harm Potter’s wife. Potter, who was driving, stopped the cruiser, got out, grabbed Beattie “with his left hand near his collar” and yelled at him to stop the threats, the statement of defence says, and Rouleau was able to stop Potter before Beattie was harmed.
Both parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit via a judicial settlement conference instead of going to trial.
However, in court Sept. 19, the defendants applied for three paragraphs to be struck from Beattie’s lawsuit: a paragraph alleging that Potter and Rouleau breached Beattie’s rights under four different sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; a paragraph alleging malicious prosecution and misfeasance; and a paragraph alleging Potter and Rouleau were negligent in their arrest and investigation of Beattie.
Lawyer Monmi Goswami argued that Beattie has not produced evidence to back up those allegations.
In his decision Sept. 20, Justice Bryan Mahoney disagreed. Beattie’s lawsuit, which has been amended twice since it was filed, includes descriptions of him being assaulted while under arrest, not being provided a phone call to a lawyer, and being treated differently because of he is of First Nations’ heritage, Mahoney said, all of which could be used to support claims of Charter rights violations.
He also found that Beattie had provided sufficient material facts that could support the claims of malicious prosecution and negligence, pointing to the fact that the officers had made false notes about the incident, had turned off the camera in the police cruiser and had laid charges against Beattie that were later dropped.
In the same decision, Mahoney also order the RCMP to disclose a number of documents related to training, policing around Carcross, and Potter and Rouleau’s conduct the night of the assault, which Beattie had requested in a separate application after the RCMP refused to disclose them to his legal team willingly.
A date for the judicial settlement conference has not been chosen yet.
Potter pleaded guilty to one count of assault in 2015.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org