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Don McKillop, Q.C.

Crown may hire private lawyers in Klassen case

Don McKillop

Two private practice lawyers may be brought in to play a role in representing Crown prosecutors Matt Miazga and Sonja Hansen.

In December, Court of Queen's Bench Justice George Baynton ruled that Miazga, child therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys and Saskatoon police officer Supt. Brian Dueck maliciously prosecuted Richard Klassen and 11 other plaintiffs.

[Dueck walks away a wealthy man: it seems no one has the will to make him account for his malicious and criminal actions]

The suit against Hansen, meanwhile, was dismissed.

The province has announced it will appeal Baynton's judgment, rather than settle with the innocent plaintiffs. The government is also appealing Baynton's dismissal of a defamation lawsuit brought against Klassen by Miazga and Hansen.

Government lawyer Donald McKillop, who represents Miazga and Hansen, said no final decisions have been made about adding the legal help.

"I'm representing them (Miazga and Hansen) now. There's always the possibility, and it's been talked about from time to time, that there might be other lawyers," he said in an interview Friday.

The private practice lawyers have been identified as Silas Halyk and Robert Richards. If their services are retained, it has not been decided who would pay for that, McKillop said.

There's the possibility that Miazga and Hansen could pay themselves, he said.

"Sure, I mean that's a possibility. Might the government pay them? That's a possibility. May there be other possibilities? All of that's on the table."

McKillop, who receives a salary from the government, wouldn't go into specifics about why the outside assistance may be required.

Klassen believes taxpayers will be on the hook if Halyk and Richards are brought into the fold. He pointed out that McKillop is paid by salary.

"Somebody has to pay Mr. Halyk and Mr. Richards. That would mean that the appeal is obviously costing the taxpayers some money, over and above the money they've already spent," Klassen said.

David MacLean, provincial director of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation, said it's time for the government "to cut their losses and end this process right now.

"It's a terrible waste of tax dollars," he said.

"This situation has taken on such great significance in this province. The longer it continues, the worse it gets, and the people of Saskatchewan want to forget this and move on."

In 1991, Klassen, his wife and others were accused of sexually abusing three Saskatoon-area foster children, Kathy, Michelle and Michael Ross. The bizarre allegations included detailed accounts of satanic ritual abuse.

Police arrested 16 people in 1991, but charges against 12 individuals were stayed in 1993, while Richard's father, Peter Klassen, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault. The birth parents and a family friend were found guilty, but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The children later recanted their stories, and Michael Ross was found to abusing his sisters.

Klassen and the others then sued for in excess of $10-million, alleging malicious prosecution. Lawyers for police, prosecutors, and the therapist, meanwhile, argued the officials were simply doing their jobs.