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.
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.
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.”
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:
- With files from Charmaine de Silva, Estefania Duran and Simon Little