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Families of men slain by cops cleared of costs

By Raymond Bowe, Barrie Examiner

The families of two men killed by Ontario Provincial Police officers are not on the hook for more than $90,000 in legal costs.

"We're certainly very relieved," said John Minty, whose older brother, Doug, was killed outside their mother's Elmvale home last year. "That takes a lot of pressure off of us.

"It also gives us a little bit of hope as we wait to hear what will happen with our appeal," he added.

A judge has ruled the families will not have to cover legal costs after their case against police was thrown out of court.

Doug Minty, 59, died from multiple gunshot wounds June 22, 2009, after being shot by Huronia West OPP Const. Graham Seguin.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) cleared Seguin because it said Minty was holding a knife as he approached the officer.

The Mintys teamed up with the family of Levi Schaeffer, a 30-year-old schizophrenic man who was killed two days after Minty. Schaeffer was shot June 24, 2009, by a provincial police officer in a remote location north of Thunder Bay.

The families launched legal action, claiming officers in both cases were too slow in completing their notes detailing what happened. They say officers should be compelled to write their notes before the end of their shift.

There are also concerns that the provincial police union's lawyer represented both the officers who fired the fatal shots and witness officers, something the families say should be prohibited.

However, a judge dismissed the case, saying it was a matter for the legislature, not the courts.

With the case being dismissed, lawyers for the Barriebased Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) and former OPP commissioner Julian Fantino sought $92,000 in court costs from the Minty and Schaeffer families.

The families are appealing the judge's decision, because they do not believe it is a legislative matter, but rather simply enforcing the rules currently on the books.

That appeal is expected to be heard early in the new year.

rbowe@thebarrieexaminer.com twitter.com/RaymondBowe



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