Griffin case back in court

Transcontinental Staff
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Attorney Charles Campbell, left, and Summerside Deputy Police Chief David Griffin. Journal Pioneer File Photo

SUMMERSIDE – It's the court case that never seems to end.

Lawyers involved in the city's dispute with Deputy Police Chief David Griffin are still wrangling over the interest on money owed to Griffin and the issue is back in court.

"I'm thoroughly surprised that this has to go back to court again," a frustrated Griffin said. "Fourteen years is totally ridiculous. My opinion is it should have been settled, closed, concluded when (arbiter) Lynn Murray made her decision in December 1999 (when she threw out sexual harassment charges filed by the city against Griffin)."

Griffin said not only the council of the day back in 1999 but each proceeding council right up to the present have had ample opportunity to deal with this issue and have not.

"It's ridiculous that it's been dragging on and putting my life on hold. It's unconscionable what's going on," he said Tuesday.

Griffin said the responsibility lies totally with mayor and council.

"We went to every court that we could on Prince Edward Island; a Supreme Court judge, the appeals court of Prince Edward Island with the three Supreme Court Judges, the Supreme Court of Canada, back again before the three Supreme Court (appeals division) judges on the cost and I won every court case. So, it's time to put this behind us. And that's up to Mayor Basil Stewart and council. This has been an absolute waste of taxpayers' money," Griffin said.

The entire episode has taken its toll on Griffin not only emotionally, but financially as well.

"I've lost my savings, Canada Bonds savings, I had to go bankrupt," he said. "That's what this has done to me."

In March of 2006 Supreme Court Justice Wayne Cheverie ruled in favour of Griffin in his malicious prosecution suit against former police Chief George Arsenault and the city of Summerside. Cheverie dismissed the claims against then Sgt. David Poirier and Chief Administrative Officer Terry Murphy

Cheverie also ruled Griffin should receive court costs against Arsenault and the city, but did not set an amount.

It took more than four years for those costs to be determined and on July 28, 2010, the P.E.I. Supreme Court appeals division set those costs at $125,000. This was supposed to put an end to a multi-faceted case that lasted over 13 years and divided a city. But now, nearly three months after that ruling, the case is back in court with the city's lawyers arguing over interest amounts that should be paid to Griffin on his $125,000 court costs award.

Griffin's attorney Charles Campbell said the matter is being handled through submissions to the courts and he is awaiting a decision. He said the court of appeal said it would take written submissions on the issue and those have now been filed. The amount involved in interest payments totals about $20,000.

Campbell said this new wrinkle in the ongoing case was unexpected.

"It actually surprised me," he said. "I thought that it would be clear enough that you get your cost from the date of your trial (March 2006) but the law's a bit slippery. We'll see what the court says, but our argument was interest should run from the point when you know you're going to have to pay the cost even if you don't know how much."

Malcolm Millar, director of financial services for the city, said the city's insurers are going to pay the costs that were awarded at the last stage of the trial.

"The insurers' lawyers are of a difference of opinion from Charles Campbell as to what the interest amount should be or when the clock started ticking to calculate interest on the amount of the award," he said. "The city's position has been we have been encouraging our insurer to try and settle up with Griffin on the amounts that are in agreement."

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada, Griffin's

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Adam
    October 21, 2010 - 09:55

    I think it is high time the citizens of Summerside, myself included, start pushing for this to be settled. I wonder if everyone stopped paying their utilities to the city all at once, if that would get their attention. I am now a grown adult, with a house, mortgage, car payment etc...but I was in high school when all this happened, which is a joke. Just give the man his money and move on, I was planning on voting for Basil, but with this remaining unsettled, I am starting to think his ego might be getting to big for him to do the job. I will be paying a visit to my town councillor today to voice my opinion on the issue, and I hope others will do the same.

  • country boy
    October 21, 2010 - 08:10

    over 10 years ago a young man driving a pick up truck over the speed limit, back window covered in snow, radio on, a police officer driving an unmarked car, red light on the dash, siren under the hood limiting sound, attempts to pull over the driver, the driver doesn't respond, reason unknown, driver neither increases or decreases speed, (an experienced officer would think that maybe the driver is unaware of the cruiser behind) driver finally stops, Police officer approaches driver, gun drawn, arrests driver and handcuffs driver. (any reasonable police officer would, through questioning find out very quickly that the driver was unaware of the police car behind) The officer committed the following offenses, assault with a weapon, assault with hand cuffs, unlawful arrest, unlawful confinement. Griffin, rightfully so wanted to process charges against the officer. Only on PEI could a police officer point a gun at a speeder and arrest him. Griffin was right for wanting to peruse charges. For that he has gone through hell for 10 years. Shame on Summerside and those people in decision making positions for this travesty of justice.

  • How Come
    October 21, 2010 - 06:45

    This article cannot be found in the on line Summerside Journal. Is there an election for a new mayor going on in Summerside?

  • Ed
    October 20, 2010 - 20:38

    What a joke and I dont me the City. Although it does have a serious leadership problem with no relief in sight. Griffin should be more than gratetful he receievd $125 grand over office politics and still has his job with the City. And now he's whining over interest. Some of us have seen worse and received no compensation. Stop whining and move on.

  • Justin D. Lay
    October 20, 2010 - 19:04

    Basil is the former Chief of Police, I guess his expertise in the law is unquestionable in his mind. Summerside is going to pay interest on this malicious lawsuit; payable over 10 terms of former Police Chief Stewart as mayor. On another note we are getting a million dollar concert the city has already paid for, let the good times roll!

  • we need new council
    October 20, 2010 - 15:57

    My son was 6 years old when this started .... he just purchased his first home at 20... Summerside desperately needs new leadership.

  • Chelle
    October 20, 2010 - 14:51

    How does a Malicious prosecution carry on for ten years in Canada? WHO did Griffin alledgedly Sexual Harrass and WHAT exactly did Griffin alledgedly do? All I know Is if we were S'Side Taxpayors we'd be totally fed up, Plissed off at so much of our public monies being spent on this. How much Money is coming out of Provincial TAXES? WTF actually Is going on with this? Is this OR isn't This valid? WTF IS GOING ON? ? ? - EXPLAIN This to The Public Gaurdian with using a Time Guideline, PLEASE. Thank-You.

  • G.Leigh MacKay
    October 20, 2010 - 11:44

    You got to be kidding, this matter still has not been resolved. I moved back home to PEI in Feb 2001 and left to return to Alberta in Jun 2005. During that time this story was in the news quite often. It is unbelieveable that here in late 2010 it still is alive and kicking. I feel for D/Chief Griffin, who I assume is still employed by the same city that refuses to accept their lot in life, now laying blame on the Insurace Co. for this latest delay. Another fine example of how slow the wheels of justice turn.