To remain silent in the face of great social evil is to be an accessory to injustice.
--Abraham Joshua Heschel
This case represents 5½ years of work on the Internet and 5 years before that where we tried to get this story to the public. Court seals and publication bans rarely serve the public interest. In this case, dishonest police, prosecutors and social workers deceived many honest officials by keeping the case secret, trusting that their unethical conduct would never be revealed.
-- Sheila Steele injusticebusters.com
This is the story of when a crooked cop argued that the Crown Prosecutor's office was his private law firm and so any communications among them were privileged. Judge Mona Dovell agreed!
A Saskatoon Crown prosecutor will not be testifying about his conversation with a key police officer concerning a sensational sex abuse case in the early 1990s, the judge overseeing a $10-million malicious prosecution lawsuit has ruled.
The lawyer for then-sergeant Brian Dueck successfully blocked the release of information about the meeting between Dueck and prosecutor Terry Hinz, arguing the conversation was confidential.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit wanted to question Hinz about his involvement in the case.
According to sources, Hinz was the first prosecutor to be shown the case file, which contained bizarre allegations of child sexual and ritual abuse against Richard and Kerrie Klassen and more than a dozen others.
Sources said Hinz told Brian Dueck that there was not enough information to lay charges. Dueck took his file to other prosecutors, and charges were laid.
The three children making the allegations have admitted they made up the stories about murdered babies, satanic rituals and other horrific acts. The children and others say officials knew the case was bogus from the start, and charges should never have been laid.
Hinz has answered some questions under the "examination for discovery" process that precedes the trial, scheduled for the fall. Lawyers for the falsely accused people wanted to bring Hinz back to ask him about the conversation he had with Dueck.
After hearing arguments last week, Queen's Bench Justice Mona Dovell said there was no precedent on a matter of this nature.
She ruled Hinz will not be able to talk about that part of the case.
She said the conversation is protected by "solicitor-client privilege", as Dueck's lawyer had argued.
Richard Klassen, who is acting as his own lawyer, wondered how any victim of a malicious prosecution would ever get information on their case if officials are shielded by this "privilege".
Dovell noted the judge during the trial may see things differently and allow Hinz to testify about his talk with Dueck.
University of Saskatchewan law Prof. Russ Buglass said if Dueck wants to show he acted in good faith, he should have allowed the release of this information.
Dueck, as the "client", is the only one now who can waive the confidentiality agreement, Buglass said.
Buglass said there are cases when the court can overrule the privilege between lawyer and client, such as proving the innocence of someone charged criminally.
As this is a civil lawsuit, that likely doesn't apply, he said.
The plaintiffs had also applied to add the provincial government as a defendant, but Dovell rejected the request. She cited a 1994 ruling by another judge who earlier rejected the same motion by the plaintiffs.
A defamation countersuit has also been filed by prosecutors, police, therapists and other defendants. It will be heard immediately following the initial lawsuit, if it goes to trial.