After a long eight year legal battle Vancouver lawyer won his case against Vancouver police for his arrest and strip search after the police were warned about a possible threat to throw a pie at former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
The court decided that Ward's Charter Rights were violated and the event was inherently humiliating and degrading. The decision was unanimous . Ward was awarded 5,000 dollars.
During Chretien's visit on Aug. 1, 2002 to open the Millennium Gate in Chinatown, Vancouver police said they received a tip that a man who looked like Ward planned to throw a pie at the prime minister. This would not have been the first pie bombing of Chretien.
Ward is well known for representing needy people wronged by authorities. Officers stopped Ward that day as he was running down the street. Ward asked why he was being asked for identification and protested. He was arrested for breach of the peace and taken to headquarters. They impounded his car and transported him to jail where he was strip searched. Of course no incriminating pastry was ever discovered.
Ward was finally released after 4 and a half hours. He asked for an apology from the Vancouver Police Dept. but never received one. He then sued the city, the province and their employees (police and jail guards), for trampling on his constitutional rights under sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Two lower courts agreed Ward was ill-treated but uncertain how to compensate him for what happed.
Former B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Tysoe in 2007 originally found Ward's rights were infringed and ordered the province to pay $5,000 for the strip search. But this decision was again appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. There never seems to be a shortage of taxpayer money to pay the legal fees when governments are sued. Had it been any ordinary person no doubt the case would have been dropped years ago. For more see the Vancouver Sun. The ruling is the first to award damages even when the police were acting in good faith.