Saanich to appeal Camaso court costs ruling

Judge rules municipality should pay for widow's court fees

The family of a man shot dead by a Saanich police constable will recover court costs following a lengthy Supreme Court trial that found the officer “grossly negligent” and called the subsequent police investigation a failure.

Justice Grant Burnyeat ruled that Saanich must pay legal costs incurred by the wife and daughter of Majencio Camaso, killed in 2004 by Const. Kristopher Dukeshire.

“Special costs are justified here as a form of chastisement for (Dukeshire’s) conduct leading up to the death of Mr. Camaso and for his failure to follow the policies of the Saanich Police Department by signing a report form, which had been prepared by another and which he must have known was inaccurate and misleading, by neglecting to make any notes regarding the incident leading up to the death of Mr. Camaso, and by not providing a statement as soon as possible after the shooting of Mr. Camaso,” Burnyeat wrote.

Camaso was known to be mentally ill when Saanich police officers responded to his home on July 11, 2004. Dukeshire fired three shots at the 33-year-old Camaso, who was running at him brandishing one or two metal objects (possibly a pipe and crowbar).

Burnyeat also ruled that the District of Saanich should also pay “for the failure to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mr. Camaso in accordance with the standards that would be expected of a modern police force, for the extreme insensitivity of dealing with Ms. Camaso in the aftermath of the shooting of her husband, and for the issuance of misleading and self-serving media releases.”

Municipal solicitor Chris Nation, on Tuesday, said Saanich is appealing the decision, made in late June.

“We don’t think the decision is correct,” he said, adding that court costs are estimated at $300,000.

In May, after Burnyeat determined negligence on both the part of Dukeshire and the police department, the municipality appealed the decision, which ruled it owed the Camaso family $389,000 in losses and damages.

kslavin@saanichnews.com