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jail. He was tossed in a 3x6-foot cell and
subjected to a strip search. He was not
allowed to call a lawyer.
Four-and-a-half hours later, an officer
told him he was arrested in a case of mistaken identity, because he matched the
description of someone who was overheard
plotting to throw a cream pie at the prime
minister. He was released without charges
and an officer escorted him to retrieve his
car from the police impound lot. His arrest,
which was filmed by a TV crew, aired on
the 6 o’clock news that night.
Ward asked the police for a public apology, since he wanted people to know he
had done nothing wrong. “The police not
only refused to issue an apology, but at a
press conference defended the officers’
actions,” Ward says.
Ward sued the police. Before the trial,
he offered to drop his suit in exchange for
a public apology. Again the police refused.
After a six-day trial, Ward won $5,100
in damages for unlawful detention,
unreasonable search of his person and the
unreasonable seizure of his car. The
Crown appealed. The British Columbia
Court of Appeal upheld the decision.
Again, the Crown appealed.
On July 23, 2010, the Supreme Court of
Canada issued its decision in Ward v. City
of Vancouver, unanimously declaring that
Canadians may have the right to sue for
monetary compensation if their constitutional rights are violated.
About 18 months after the end of his
eight-year legal ordeal and odyssey, Ward
reflects simply, “It is very important to
stand up for what you believe is right. I
could not have looked myself in the mirror
if I had not fought.” n
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