BRITISH COLUMBIA

Gurdev Dhillon Sues Over 'Miscarriage Of Justice' In Wrongful-Conviction Case

02/16/2015 06:01 EST | Updated 04/18/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - A former British Columbia man whose sexual assault conviction was thrown out in what the Crown has called a "miscarriage of justice" is suing the RCMP, the lead investigator and prosecutor, the provincial and federal governments and even his own former defence lawyer.

Jason Gratl, the current lawyer for Gurdev Singh Dhillon, said Monday he has also filed a judicial review to quash his client's deportation order and has appealed to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

Dhillon was convicted of sexual assault in 2005, imprisoned and deported to India in 2008.

But a special prosecutor later found Crown counsel didn't disclose DNA evidence before the trial that pointed to other men — something the B.C. Appeal Court cited when it threw out the conviction last year.

"We're doing everything within our power to restore him to the situation he would have been had it not been for the wrongful conviction," said Gratl.

The notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court names the province's minister of justice, the federal attorney general, lead investigator Ryan Roth, lead prosecutor Don Wilson, defence lawyer Sukhjinder Grewal, and a civilian member of the RCMP known only as John Doe.

The RCMP declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for Grewal said he was out of the country. A spokeswoman for the provincial government said it hadn't yet been served with the lawsuit, and the federal government had not responded by Monday evening.

The allegations have not been tested in court, but the document alleges the defendants were negligent during the investigation and lead up to the trial, and one of them may have even infringed on Dhillon's charter rights.

It states that after the sexual assault a DNA analysis pointed to two unknown males, the findings were forwarded to the RCMP on Feb. 7, 2005, but neither Roth nor Doe delivered them to Crown counsel or Dhillon.

"Wilson knew or ought to have known that a DNA analysis had been prepared in respect of the DNA samples, but he did not request a copy of the DNA analysis and did not provide a copy of the DNA analysis to the plaintiff or his counsel," the document states.

The RCMP concluded in June 2006, after Dhillon's conviction, that his DNA did not match any known samples, but Roth and Doe didn't deliver the report to Crown or defence counsels, says the document.

Four years later, the RCMP matched the victim's DNA to a man and began an investigation, but neither Roth nor Doe notified Dhillon or his lawyer, it adds.

In September 2011, B.C.'s Minister of Justice appointed a special prosecutor to review the case, and by the following May the RCMP matched the victim's DNA to a second man and began an investigation but again, nobody told Dhillon or his lawyer, the document states.

"The plaintiff and the plaintiff's lawyers were not notified that the plaintiff's DNA did not match the two DNA profiles until February 20, 2013, after the Crown decided to pursue charges against two persons whose DNA match the victim's DNA samples," the notice says.

The statement of claim says Dhillon lost his liberty, his marriage, his child, his job as a mill worker, and was deported to India and lost "his country," noting he is now a rural farmer in Punjab "with few economic prospects."

Gratl said Dhillon is 35 years old and his estranged daughter is 11.

"It's been devastating for him, particularly being alienated from his daughter has cost him untold suffering, having his own daughter believe that he committed a sexual assault that he didn't commit," he said, adding it's too early to put a monetary price on his client's hardships.

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