B.C.’s highest court rejects father’s bid for special costs after mother used bogus expert

The Law Courts Vancouver
The Law Courts in Vancouver, B.C. Global News

B.C.’s highest court has rejected a father’s bid to have the mother of his children pay special costs after her lawyer put a witness on the stand who turned out to be fraudulent.

The father, known only as B.G., asked for more than $500,000 in costs from J.P., the mother, and her lawyer, Jack Hittrich.

READ MORE: Canada’s top court won’t hear appeal of B.C. family case that tore 4 kids away from their dad

B.G. sought special costs after the B.C. Court of Appeal last August found that a lower court judge made serious errors accepting expert testimony from Claire Reeves, a so-called child abuse expert who received degrees from diploma mills, and whose evidence resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled in 2015 that B.G. had sexually abused his children and that the ministry let it happen; the province’s highest court subsequently overturned that decision, noting that it relied on evidence from an unqualified expert.

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On Monday, the Court of Appeal found that “neither the mother nor her counsel could have known, any more than the trial judge did, that Ms. Reeves was prepared to deceive the court.”

READ MORE: Father at centre of 5-year custody battle wants $500K from ex and lawyer who relied on ‘fraudulent expert’

As such, neither her conduct  nor that of her lawyer approached the “reprehensible” standard that would result in the awarding of special costs.

Costs for a second family trial will be decided when the new trial goes before the court.

Read CKNW’s special coverage of this case:

Part 1: How ‘flawed’ B.C. court rulings tore 4 kids away from their dad for 5 years and counting

Part 2: The B.C. judge who ‘ignored evidence,’ ‘erred in law’ and put a ministry under fire

Part 3: The family lawyer whose zealous advocacy missed ‘obvious red flags’ and helped an unfair trial proceed

Part 4: A B.C. dad who couldn’t afford a lawyer or get legal aid lost access to his kids

Part 5: How B.C.’s ill-equipped system spawned the longest child welfare fight in Canada’s history

  • With files from Charmaine de Silva, Estefania Duran and Simon Little