Cameron Ward, Lawyer

Re: Cameron Ward, Lawyer

To: Vancouver Police Department

From: Gail Davidson, Director of LRWC

Date: 2002-08-07

LRWC has received information that Mr. Ward was arrested at approximately 10:30 a.m. on August 1st, 2002 by three Vancouver City police officers while Mr. Ward was attending a public event in Chinatown. We are advised that Mr. Ward was detained, handcuffed and searched by three police officers, including Sgt. Kelly (badge No. 1257). He was subsequently transported from the intersection of Keefer and Taylor Streets to the jail on Cordova Street, where an attempt was made to strip-search him. He was held in custody in a jail cell until approximately 3:30 p.m., when he was released. During this time Mr. Ward’s vehicle was seized from the street and impounded by the VPD apparently on suspicion that there might have been a pie in the trunk. No charges have been laid.

LRWC expresses no opinion regarding the VPD’s explanation that Mr. Ward’s arrest was occasioned by a mistake as to Mr. Ward’s identity and that the arresting officer(s) arrested Mr. Ward because he fit the description of a man whom the officer believed might throw a pie at the Prime Minister.

LRWC is concerned by the VPD’s detention of Mr. Ward and the above-described treatment. We are writing to ask for a full explanation of the actions of the VPD following Mr. Ward’s arrest. We want to know why Mr. Ward was detained beyond the point of him identifying himself and why he was accorded the treatment referred to above.

The fact that the VPD detained Mr. Ward for approximately 5 hours after he had been satisfactorily identified to the police and that the VPD subjected him to extremely serious violations of his rights begs for an explanation. Mr. Ward is well known to the VPD as a lawyer who has acted against the VPD, the Prime Minister and the RCMP in the well-publicized RCMP APEC Inquiry and in various civil actions.

In the absence of an explanation, these factors tend to create the impression, (an impression that LRWC is loath to accept), that Mr. Ward’s treatment may have been occasioned by his work as a lawyer.

As you are aware, Canada, as a member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, has a duty to ensure that lawyers and other human rights advocates not be subjected to intimidation, harassment, reprisals as a result of the advocacy.

LRWC looks forward to receiving a full explanation from the VPD and in particular answers to the following questions:

a. Why was Mr. Ward arrested?

b. Why was Mr. Ward detained for 5 hours?

c. Why did VPD attempt to strip-search him?

d. Why was Mr. Ward not allowed immediate contact with a lawyer of his choice?

I am confident that the VPD shares LRWC’s concern with the impression created by the above outlined circumstances of Mr. Ward’s arrest and detention and we look forward to receiving your reply.