On January 28, 2004 Richard Klassen contacted Justice Minister Frank Quennell's assistant and informed her of his intent to attend the legislative building with his family on Monday February the 2nd to stage a sit in until or unless a meeting was arranged between The Justice Minister, Richard Klassen and counsel for the remaining plaintiffs in the Klassen/Kvello malicious prosecution suit.
On Thursday January 29th Justice Minister Frank Quennell announced that he would be instructing his officials to arrange such a meeting with Mr. Klassen and councel Robert Borden who represents the remaining plaintiffs.
A date of Monday February 2nd at 1:00 p.m. has been set for this meeting at an undisclosed location as instructions were given by Mr. McKillop Q.C. that media not attend. People in attendance of this meeting will be Mr. McKillop Q.C. councel for the Defendants Matthew Miazga, Sonja Hansen and Carol Bunko-Ruys, Deputy Minister of Justice Doug Moen, Richard Klassen and his assistant and Robert Borden councel for the remaining plaintiffs.
In light of previous non-factual statements given by members of the Saskatchewan Justice Department regarding previous meeting attempts, Richard Klassen has decided that in the interim his wife and children will attend the legislative building at 10:00 a.m. Monday the 2nd day of February to begin the sit in. In the event the discussions which have been arranged not be satisfactory, he and his assistant will join his family in Regina.
Shortly before 3 Thursday, Mr. Judge Calvin Tallis of the Saskatchewan Appeal court agreed with Richard Klassen that appeals must wait for the damages trial to be completed.
This has been scheduled for September 13. The appeal court judge says the transcripts of the liability trial must be ordered immediately. (They will be ready in three months at a cost to the appellants of about $35K We are thrilled that this trial will be transcribed and made available to all interested parties.) All parties have seven days to file their appeal. At this point, it seems unlikely that anyone but the government will appeal.
Justice Minister Frank Quennell held a press conference at the legislature at 3.
Quennell, at the press conference, again did not apologize to the Klassens and Kvellos. He said that he is ordering his representatives to meet with the plaintiffs to see if some kind of arrangement could be arrived at which would be satisfactory. Richard Klassen told the media that the only satisfactory arrangement for him would be to be settled out, completely, so he could clear out of the province.
Klassen went on to say if there is not a meeting by Monday he will be in Regina, at the legislature with his wife, children, legal assistant and his welfare check. He will camp in the foyer until a settlement is reached. -- Sheila Steele, Jan. 29
Why aren't we waiting any more? Enough is enough -- and the public agrees.
(Report of Leader-Post poll directly below this sermonette: 83% say apologize. Poll did not ask about settling.)
Richard Klassen has made his decision: he wants to be settled out so he can get out of the province. He made his decision himself, but those of us who have been supporting him are completely behind him still.
The government has chosen to stand behind Don McKillop, who lost his application to the Appeal Court Thursday to stall matters, and has now instructed him to head the negotiation team for a meeting with the Plaintiffs and the Deputy Minister on Monday.
This government band of sore losers is still trying to spin their losses into victories -- to save face. After losing in the Appeal Court yesterday, he told the TV cameras that "(the appeal court judge) took a middle ground.
"I don't think there is an identifiable right answer -- the judge has chosen an answer." (Global) and
"Today was never about whether there would be damages awarded -- that will come for a later time." (CTV)
Richard Klassen's response was blunt and clear: "You know, they've been found guilty -- nobody wants to be sentenced after they've been found guilty."
Earlier in the day, Frank Quennell had told reporters that Matt Miazga and Sonia Hansen were entitled to their own private lawyers and that the government would be obligated to pay for counsel of their choosing. This was in response to news that McKillop had contacted Si Halyk and Bob Richards, two successful defence lawyers, regarding their situation.
Don Morgan of the Saskatchewan Party pointed out that if the government did not have any in-house lawyers who were competent to handle the appeal, there was not much point farming it out to someone else since the government hires the very best constitutional lawyers.
As Angela Geworsky has stated in the media release above, the Saskatchewan government and its representatives have been presenting the public with spin presented as fact. Their claim that a "chill" will prevent police and prosecutors from going after real sex offenders represents a misreading of Judge George Baynton's decision.
It is true that a cop seeking to press charges based on a the kind of speculation Dueck presented to Terry Hinz, and then to Matt Miazga, will not be able to get his case off the ground. He will be required to find some corroborating evidence for "brood mares" and sacrificed babies. It is also true that social workers with hidden agendas will not be able to hire contract therapists to brainwash foster children into believing their nightmarish fantasies really happened. And it is true that prosecutors will have a much harder time keeping the media out of courtrooms, withholding ontradictory information from defence counsel and judges, and claiming the people they have accused are guilty when their case falls apart.
At least it will be much harder for them to criminally defeat the purposes of justice. This is not to say they won't try. There are many more cases of malicious prosecution in Saskatchewan and across the country. Some have occurred in the past year. The cops and crowns who participated in these -- and they all know who they are -- should be feeling icy sensations down their spines. They should be anticipating the metal clang of cell doors shutting.
Whatever cooling thoughts any of them might be having, it is almost certain that they cannot imagine what it would be like to be publicly branded as child molesters. Their creativity and ingenuity for convicting innocent people suggest imaginative powers which stop well short of empathy.
Justice Minister Frank Quennell is callous and stupid. After the Saskatchewan Appeal Court shut down government lawyer Don McKillop's bid to appeal the findings of malice in Judge Baynton's decision, he should have fired McKillop. Instead, he whined some more about clarification and chill and sent McKillop off to do some damage control by meeting with the plaintiffs. Has Quennell not yet figured out that there is next to zero possibility that McKillop and Klassen will be able to see eye to eye on anything? Does Quennell not know that McKillop has fought Klassen tooth and nail for the last two years, trying to get him thrown out of the civil claim, fighting motions in court and then filing a nonsuit application after the plaintiffs had presented their case and finally, arguing that Judge Baynton should not interpret the facts presented to the court by Richard Klassen as malicious?
Does Quennell not realize that McKillop's previous attempts to buy off the Klassen and Kvello families were insulting, and would not have covered out-of-pocket expenses?
If Quennell was just and intelligent, he would have found himself a competent arbitrator and arranged a serious settlement meeting. Instead, he has given McKillop more rope to hang the government with. No one will blame Richard Klassen if he walks out from the meeting on Monday.
Richard and Kari Klassen have become known to the entire country -- in fact, the English-speaking world -- as champions of justice.
Now the world will get to meet all the Klassens.
Krystal, who now works in Regina, was raped by Michael when she was five years old. She filed a lawsuit against the province, Social Services and several social workers March 4, 2002, the day before she turned 18.
McKillop is defending the province in this one, too. Shortly after Krystal filed, McKillop wrote to her expressing his intention to have Anita Klassen added to the defendants (those who wronged Krystal by failing to keep her safe from Michael) because Anita "owed Krystal an equal duty of care."
In the province's statement of defence, filed June 4, 2002, McKillop claims that "in all of their involvement with Michael Ross, they acted honestly, diligently and without negligence" and that "Anita Klassen had all of the information that they had about the risk posed by Michael Ross to other children."
Judge George Baynton's findings tell us otherwise. It is now part of the public record that Anita Klassen was not told by Social Services that Michael was dangerous and that she reported her concerns about his behavior to Social Services many times and always followed their advice about how to proceed as a foster mother.
On the evidence table at the civil trial can be found a videotape where Michael admits he raped Krystal at Howard Coad rink, Dueck's notes of the videotape, Dueck's occurance report which refers to the incident, Jacquie Klassen's testimony she witnessed the assault, Krystal Klassen's own testimony and Michael's testimony that he did it.
Krystal's parents, Richard and Kari Klassen, first became aware of the incident in 2001 as they read through the disclosure material they got from McKillop.
This is a further civil claim the Saskatchewan government would like to go away. It was set aside awaiting the decision of another case, which we understand has now been heard.
Kathy and Michelle Ross also have a civil claim in the works, also filed just before their 18th birthday. The evidence from the Klassen/Kvello civil claim goes a long way toweard proving their claim.
Brady Klassen was a babe in arms and Kayla was a toddler when the RCMP came to the Klassen's door in Red Deer to execute the arrest warrant prepared by Dueck. This case has been the backdrop for their lives ever since. They have gone through name-calling and attacks at school and on the street. They have had friendships interrupted by the many moves the family has made in an effort to find a place where the case was not known.
Last summer, Brady and Kayla were out there with us, handing out leaflets and explaining the case to people on the street. They have received an education which no parent would wish for their children; the upside is that they are bright, articulate adolescants who will do us all proud during the sit-in at the legislature.
The Klassen family will attend at the legislature during those hours when the legislature is open. They are not intending to stay beyond those hours or to cause any difficulties for the staff.
They are not asking for charity, although we all appreciate the donations we have received in the weeks since the judgment.
They want a settlement. A fair settlement, such as might be awarded by a judge at a damages trial based on the evidence now before the court. They want it now, not in September which is eight months away.
We do not anticipate that we will have any difficulty persuading anyone we speak to that what is being asked for is not only fair and just, but long overdue.
The provincial government could face pressure from the public to apologize to a family falsely accused in a high-profile child sexual abuse case.
A poll conducted by Sigma Analytics for the Leader-Post found that nearly three quarters of respondents had heard of the recent judicial decision that Richard Klassen and 11 other plaintiffs had been the subjects of malicious prosecution by a crown prosecutor, a Saskatoon police officer and a social worker.
Of people aware of the case, 83 per cent said the provincial government should apologize, which it has so far refused to do as it appeals the decision in the malicious prosecution case.
"It's a high level of recognition for any one issue," said Cam Cooper, senior analyst with polling firm Sigma Analytics.
Deputy Premier Clay Serby said Friday that the government has conveyed to the plaintiffs that "this has been a very unfortunate situation for them, we wish they wouldn't have had to go through the process and at the end of the day we're troubled by the way in which this matter has been managed, there's no question about it. We'd hoped that the system would have been a bit more responsive."
However, Justice Minister Frank Quennell and Premier Lorne Calvert have not apologized for the actual prosecution because the matter is before the courts on appeal.
In 1991, Klassen, his wife and others were accused of sexually abusing three Saskatoon-area foster children, with bizarre allegations that 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 children later recanted almost all of what they had alleged, and the oldest foster child was found to be abusing his younger sisters.