Chief Justice Sets Date For Trial Of City, APD, Despite City’s Appeal

The City of Abbotsford, the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) and the Pivot Legal Society were in BC Supreme Court Monday dealing with the latest round of delay by the City and the APD. Last week Abbotsford Today revealed that the City would appeal the Chief Justice’s decision to allow the court cases against the City and the APD to go ahead.

Despite repeated request for clarification about who at City Hall approved the appeal, Deputy City Manager Jake Rudolph refused to tell Abbotsford Today who had directed the City’s lawyers to appeal the Chief Justice’s decision.

Pivot lawyers told the judge Monday they will be making a motion to vacate/set aside the injunction granted to the City during Christmas 2013 to evict the homeless men and women who were living in Jubilee Park.

That injunction was granted on the basis of statements from the City of Abbotsford to the judge that Abbotsford has plenty of shelter space available for its homeless population. Within days all of those who had been rushed into emergency shelter were back on the streets with nowhere to go.

Since the City made those statements about the availability of shelter space in Abbotsford the number of homeless men and women who have gathered at the ‘MCC Dignity Vilage’ protest camp on Gladys Avenue has steadily grown.

“What we have witnesssed, since the City promised the judge last Christmas that Abbotsford has lots of room for its homeless population, is a continued, ongoing campaign by the City, BC Hydro, the Department of Transport, the Fisheries Department and private land owner have all got into the game of forced evictions of homeless people in Abbotsford,” says Barry Shantz, founder and head of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors (DWS).

The APD has been helping the City in its delay tactics by denying records, documents and internal emails. The Chief Justice ordered the APD to share those documents but the APD has now told the court it wants the homeless to pay them upwards of $20,000 for the information.

“The system is not fair because the APD is trying to use it in order to put the burden to pay for access to their records on the homeless who are living in abject poverty,” says Shantz.

“The APD is using the system to take advantage of the poor and it is clear to us that this is just one more of many examples of this City and its police force fighting with their own citizens

Regarding the City’s appeal of chief justice Christopher Hinkson’s ruling – the chief justice has announced that he will be hearing the trial and has set a trial date june 2015 despite the City’s appeal of his decision.

If the appeal is successful the trial date will not be needed but if it fails, it would appear the Chief Justice does not want a resolution of the case against the City and the APD to be delayed any more than it has already.

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