A Victoria man, representing himself, is suing the City of Victoria and two Victoria police officers for an alleged wrongful arrest that took place almost 10 years ago.
Martin Phillip Waterman first filed a civil claim on Nov. 30, 2012 after he was arrested by police two years earlier. According to a Supreme Court judgment, posted online last week, the arrest occurred after allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct were raised by his then seven-year-old daughter to a representative of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Waterman told Black Press Media the allegations came from his ex-wife, who had “physical and mental ailments.”
Det. Mark Knoop of VicPD was assigned to investigate. He interviewed Waterman’s daughter and as a result Waterman was arrested by a different officer, Cory Moore, without warrant on Nov. 30, 2010. Waterman was held and interviewed by the police for about four hours and subsequently released and no charges were ever laid.
Const. Matt Rutherford, public affairs for VicPD, could not confirm whether the two officers are still employed by the police force, adding that he could not provide any further comments until the case has been resolved in court.
The civil claim has been in front of the courts a number of times. Waterman’s first claim, in 2012, contained allegations of false arrest, false imprisonment, abuse of process, assault, battery and defamation. From there, Justice Winteringham stated that Waterman “took virtually no steps to prosecute his claim from 2012 to 2015.” A application to dismiss was filed, but a different judge ruled a trial date must be set by a certain date and pursuant to that order, trial was set for Sept. 25, 2017.
Two weeks before trial the defendants filed an application seeking an order to strike the plaintiff’s claim citing no reasonable claim against the defendants. On the day of trial, Justice Butler dismissed all Waterman’s claims but granted leave for him to file an amended notice of civil claim.
“The notice of civil claim is very poorly drafted and makes some allegations of fact, although much of it is a series of conclusory statements,” stated Butler.
According to Waterman, he did approach lawyers in the earlier stages of the court proceedings but he couldn’t afford the legal help to take on the police or the city.
“I couldn’t get anybody to sue to the police without committing to six figures. I thought, OK I’m supposed to have access to the court system,” says Waterman. “I thought why don’t I see if that’s true.”
He adds that in the first couple years after the initial arrest he did not have the “resources or health” to fight it in the courts.
On Nov. 23, 2017 Waterman filed the amended claim. More than a year later, after accommodating Waterman’s request to adjourn three times, on April 3, 2019 the defendants filed an application to strike the amended claim once again.
The three-time amended claim made its way to Winteringham, who ordered Waterman to file another amended claim by Aug. 29, which Waterman says he did.
“It’s been time consuming,” says Waterman. “Every time they file something, I’ve got to head to the law library and try to figure it out myself.”
The case is set for trial starting on Sept. 9 and is expected to take 10 days. According to Bruce Cohen, Superior Courts communication officer, says there are practical matters that will come into play during trial that might make things more difficult.