Monday, July 13, 1998

Tracy Tyler

p. B4.

Board left in dark on suit, Gardner says

Police chair says he should have been in on Doe strategy

The head of the Toronto police service board says he thinks he should have been involved in strategy discussions over the Jane Doe lawsuit -- since he'll be dealing with its repercussions.

"I feel that I would have liked to have had some information," Norm Gardner said Saturday. "I'm trying to clear the murkiness of how we got into this situation, of not having any input at all."

Doe was awarded $220,000 in damages by the court after police failed to warn her about a serial balcony rapist in 1986.

Gardner said while he has since been told that lawyers for Doe offered to settle the case out of court three times before it went to trial, the police services board had no involvement because the potential liability was being assumed by a municipal risk management committee.

The committee was formed in 1986 to provide the city with self-insurance after a series of successful lawsuits wiped out its coverage.

Gardner insisted the Jane Doe suit never came up at any police services board meeting in all his years on the board or in any discussion he had outside board meetings.

"I never talked to the police about this," said Gardner, who has been on the board for more than a decade.

"We only saw the police when we came to meetings, then everybody would run away. I always had a big workload, with enough other things to capture my attention."

Gardner said he was told after the decision in the Doe case was released that commenting publicly would be unwise because the board was not a party to the lawsuit.

He said it would have been prudent for the risk management committee to have obtained some advise from the board, even if the board bore no legal responsibility.

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: February 14, 1999
Last modified: February 14, 1999

J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710