A Saskatchewan man illegally disseminating confidential court documents will be allowed to continue with his multi-million dollar lawsuit, a Court of Queen's Bench justice has ruled.
However, Richard Klassen will have to promise to stop publishing and distributing any further documents.
Klassen said he was happy with the ruling, and will abide by the court order -- for now. He plans to apply to the court immediately to reverse his publishing ban.
"I felt pretty good. I thought they'd just slam me and shut me down. She left the door open," Klassen said.
"I don't think it was even fair for them to even apply to remove me from the lawsuit. I was hurt. My family was hurt. I'm entitled to compensation."
The $10M lawsuit, filed by Klassen and a dozen others, seeks compensation for charges laid against them relating to a sexual abuse scandal in the early 1990s. At the time it was known as the "scandal of the century."
The charges against most of them were dropped before trial, and all but one of the remaining convictions was overturned.
Klassen has been acting as his own lawyer for several months, collecting documents for the case. He openly defied the rule prohibiting dissemination of documents before they are presented in court.
Two of the lawsuit defendants, Brian Dueck and the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners, took Klassen to court to get his name stricken from the suit.
The justice disagreed in her ruling this week.
Justice J. Dovell noted Klassen "was acting in contravention of a specific order and the law." However, she said the court is "once again prepared to give Richard Klassen one last chance and is not prepared to strike or stay his action at this time."
Klassen, however, lost his bid to have his charges for photocopying court documents reduced to 10 cents per page from 25 cents. Justice officials will, however, have to go through all of the files related to this case in the next 30 days and number all of the documents to make it easier for everyone involved.
As neither party won on all issues, both had to pay their own court costs.
Police Commission chair Leanne Bellegarde Daniels said the commission's insurance company has taken over the litigation, and the board is not prepared to comment at this time.
A Saskatoon man who is part of a $10-million lawsuit against police and prosecutors is willing to drop his claim in order to continue publishing documents about the 10-year-old case.
At a court of Queen's Bench hearing Thursday Richard Klassen was taken to task by Crown lawyers representing people named in the suit.
The Crown asked Justice Mona Dovell to ban Klassen from persisting to publish any of the hundreds of pages of documents he has obtained from the defendants as the lawsuit progresses.
Failing that, Dovell was urged to strike Klassen's claim to stop him from getting access to any more documents that are released as the suit continues.
Dovell reserved her decision.
"They're trying to shut me up. This is their second attempt to keep me quiet, keep me from going public by talking about a case that should be known," Klassen said outside the courthouse.
"I think that they'll stop at nothing. Every time I open my mouth, they're going to come back at me and say, 'There he goes again, he's talking.'"
He is worried about being removed from the suit but said, "it's something for which I'll pay the price to reveal what really happened."
Klassen was one of 16 people charged with more than 60 counts of incest, gross indecency and sexual assault after an 18-month investigation based on the allegations of three foster children -- a boy and his twin sisters.
Of the four convictions, three were overturned on appeal.
The one conviction obtained by a plea bargain was against a man in his 60s, who has said he pleaded guilty in exchange for the prosecution not proceeding with the charges against the rest of his family.
The boy and his sisters, now young adults, have recanted their stories of sexual abuse by the various accused persons.
All three have admitted it was the boy who abused his two sisters and not the older man.
Klassen and some others are suing police, prosecutors, therapists and others involved. Klassen, who is representing himself, said the documents show the incompetence of the investigation.
In January last year, a judge ordered him to stop posting the documents on a Web site, injusticebusters.com and fined him $1,240 as a deterrent. The Crown argued Klassen is defying the order and still publicizing information. Klassen said he is prohibited from publishing listed (numbered) documents. All of those he has discussed or displayed publicly have no numbers.
"I have not violated anything," he said.
"But I do believe a crime has been committed and it is my right to reveal the truth."
After the hearing Klassen was confident he put together a good argument but said his faith in the justice system is still tainted and "I don't hold a lot of hope for anything."
If the decision doesn't go in his favour, he will "immediately appeal."
The provincial Justice Department will try next month to silence a Saskatoon man who is defying a court order by disclosing information he obtained researching his wrongful prosecution lawsuit.
"I'm worried. I'm concerned, but I've got nothing to lose," Richard Klassen said.
"A civil suit should not stop me from what I feel obligated to do."
Klassen was one of 16 people charged in 1991 with abusing three young children. In the end, a controversial plea bargain by one of the accused was the only conviction that stuck.
Klassen and some of the others charged filed a $10-million lawsuit several years ago against the police, prosecutors, therapists and others involved.
In January of last year, a judge ordered Klassen not to distribute of publish any of the hundreds of pages of documents he obtained on the case.
Klassen has been posting much of the information on his Web site, injusticebusters.com.
Klassen decided several months ago to act as his own lawyer, and has obtained several hundred more pages of documents from Justice Department officials.
However, Klassen got a letter Monday from Crown counsel Don McKillop, who had been supplying him with documents.
McKillop stated he could not disclose any further documentation because he learned Klassen was continuing to violate the judge's order.
McKillop said he didn't want to be a party to violating the order.
A judge in the Court of Queen's Bench will review the information Feb. 14 and decide what to do about Klassen and the order.
Klassen fears he could be removed from the lawsuit, but believes he has a right to publish what he considers evidence of wrongdoing.
"If they remove me from the lawsuit, I'll go from there," he said.
Saskatchewan Justice spokesperson Jeff Bohach said the department couldn't comment on the matter as it is before the courts.
Feb. 1, 2002: Fifth Estate got the story out nationally on Jan. 23 and then CBC Saskatchewan set it back with a story tonight on Canada Now which missed the point. Richard Klassen was interviewed about the evidence of criminal wrongdoing he had found within the boxes of material held by Don McKillop for his defendant Crowns -- evidence which clearly shows the main defendants in the lawsuit committed serious crimes to keep their case together. We thank Chris Epp for his piece - - we know that any publicity is good publicity. It is public interest upon which we stake our reputations.
It is in PUBLIC where we want this settled. Fully, fairly, completely.
The people of Saskatchewan need to have this all spelled out for them, by journalists who openly care about justice and fairness -- and don't accept the "before the court" offering from the justice minister. The response we have been getting suggests people want things shaken up, that they don't want to see Klassen dismissed from the lawsuit on a tired technicality.
We well understand that journalists have a hard time getting it right when they are told lies by government officials. During January, 2001 we had a discussion with SP reporter Les Perreaux which might be instructive today.
The images are from Chris Epp's piece on Canada Now, Friday, Feb. 1, 2002
Specifically they allowed Michael to continue assaulting Kathy while they were preparing the case, they ignored recantations from the children while seeking out quack experts to bolster the weakness of the children's testimony. Social Services knowingly put the lives of small children in danger. To cover these crimes, Dueck committed perjury six to a dozen times. Carol Bunko-Ruys deliberately withheld from the court drawings made by the children at the time of her reported hearing Michael assault his sisters in the therapy room. She also fails to mention that Dueck was with her: Brain, Michael ironically names him. Witness Lyle Thompson committed flagrant perjury, stating once that when he went to Anita Klassen's house she answered the door dressed in jeans and a shirt and later stating she was wearing panties and a bra. Inflammatory? You bet. Criminal? You bet. And it was all packed in a box and sealed by order of Judge D.K. MacPherson.
Was the judge aware he was participating in a cover-up? We don't think so. We believe a fraud was perpetrated on the court.
It is generally acknowledged that this story was broken on the internet.
The officials involved in this cover-up have a long history of lying to the media and stonewalling information. Chris Axworthy continues to perpetrate the myth that it is improper -- possibly illegal --to discuss a matter which is "before the courts."
Honest discussion is not in this case or any other case improper or illegal. Dishonest discussion, such as Matt Miazga's now infamous pronouncement that the Crown stayed the charges in 1992 because the children were traumatized is certainly improper and should be illegal.
The crimes which the Crown committed in the course of this cover-up: withholding exculpatory information from the defence and allowing two children to be brutalized for 43 months, cannot and must not be left unaccounted for.
Cooperation can make this happen. The Crown, Dueck and Social Services certainly cooperated -- one might say conspired -- to convict Ross, Ross, White and Klassen. The defence lawyers, on the other hand -- five of them! -- did not cooperate and advised their clients not to speak to one another.