A man who tried to sue the City of Victoria and the Victoria Police Department for wrongful arrest made more than a decade ago has had his claim dismissed in the Supreme Court of B.C.
The judgment, posted online on June 10, outlines an arrest made on a man identified by M.P.W. after his ex-wife, identified only with the initials N.W., made complaints to the Ministry of Children and Family Development about M.P.W. being sexually inappropriate with their daughter.
VicPD officers interviewed the child, who made a “number of disclosures that describe inappropriate sexual behaviors.” Detective Mark Knoop is named in the ruling as being the officer who decided M.P.W. should be arrested without a warrant. Const. Cory Moore arrested M.P.W. on Nov. 20, 2010. A couple hours later M.P.W. was released and no charges were ever pressed.
M.P.W. claimed he was wrongfully arrested and detained, and that Knoop conducted a negligent investigation. M.P.W. sought damages for the injuries he said he received during the arrest and detention.
Recordings from interviews between police and N.W. and the child were shown in court. Knoop testified that N.W. presented as a “normal concerned and worried parent” and did not appear “vindictive or out to get her ex-husband.” Knoop made the decision to arrest because he felt M.P.W. was a danger to his daughter.
M.P.W. testified that before he was arrested outside his apartment complex, he received a call from N.W. who told him “something very bad was going to happen to him” and that it was because he wouldn’t let her take the child to Russia. M.P.W. said he remembered telling police there was no need to handcuff him because he was “not a flight risk and was unable to run away.” When he was asked to get into the police car, he told the officers he was not able to due to physical disabilities. At some point, a larger police vehicle arrived and he was able to get into it.
According to the ruling, Moore did not recall M.P.W. telling him he was not a flight risk or asking him not to use handcuffs.
M.P.W. asserted that he and N.W. were in a “hotly contested custody dispute” and that her complaint to the ministry was made “in the middle of a custody dispute” and that she was seeking to “get an unfair advantage.” He added that Knoop profited from his action and speculated that “by gaming the system, he was able to get positive performance reviews, promotions, chosen for advancement and positions, increase in pay and therefore increases in his pensions.”
In her reasons for judgment, Justice Carla Forth stated it was not her role to make a finding on whether M.P.W. was guilty of the alleged sexual offences, but whether the police had reasonable grounds for making the arrest.
“The safety of a young child became paramount when Det. Knoop believed the allegations made, which were serious and of a sexual nature. For these reasons, I cannot find that Det. Knoop believed on reasonable grounds that the public interest could be satisfied without arresting the plaintiff,” reads the judgment.
Forth dismissed the claim for negligence and wrongful arrests against both officers.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: