Man wins $63,750 court judgment 16 years after being mauled by Surrey RCMP police dog

Jean-Claude Emond was seeking general damages of $2.55 million, based on a claim of $150,000 per bite

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      It's often said that justice delayed is justice denied.

      But a Surrey man has won a $63,750 judgment after being bitten 17 times by a Surrey RCMP police dog back in 2005.

      The dog bites occurred as Jean-Claude Emond—a gold prospector and construction worker—was being arrested pursuant to a warrant, according to July 8 ruling by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Amy Francis.

      She determined that the federal Crown was actually liable for an $85,000 award, due to negligence. But she reduced this by 25 percent because she found Emond to be "contributorily negligent".

      He ran away from police when they arrived at his home to arrest him in connection with a 2004 domestic dispute, prompting the Mounties to dispatch a police dog during the chase.

      According to the decision, Emond appeared to suffer bites to his legs, knee, bicep, ankle, buttock, thigh, foot, and torso. This was according to photographs taken the day he was released from the Surrey Pretrial Centre.

      "Two very large lacerations on his leg appear to have been stapled shut in surgery," Francis wrote.

      After going home to recover, Emond's leg turned black and had to return to the hospital.

      "He had suffered from a deep vein thrombosis. For a number of days, he was required to attend the hospital daily to obtain injections that would break up the blood clot," the judge wrote.

      The police service dog was named Jeck. He was being handled at the time by Const. R. Heppell.

      Heppell and several other constables were named as defendants, along with the Surrey RCMP and the federal and provincial governments.

      Jeck also bit another constable in the foot as Emond was being restrained.

      A central part of Emond's claim was that the officers allowed Jeck to continue biting him after he was under the control of police.

      This was denied by the arresting officers.

      Francis, however, concluded that it was "not probable" that Jeck could have bit Emond bit him in the foot, leg, arm, torso, knee, buttocks and groin prior to him being taken to the ground by two officers.

      "The only probable sequence of events therefore is that Mr. Emond continued to be bitten by the [police service dog] after the handcuffs were placed on his wrists," she wrote. 

      The judge ruled that she could not find on the evidence that any of the Mountie defendants were guilty of dishonesty, gross negligence, or malicious or willful misconduct.

      Emond represented himself in court. He was seeking general damages of $2.55 million, based on a claim of $150,000 per dog bite. He also sought $3,170,000 for loss of income, some of which he claimed would come from gold mining.

      Francis refused to award any money for loss of income.

      The judge acknowledged in the ruling that Emond has had to be treated for blood clots related to his injuries and continues to have pain and loss of sensation in his leg.

      In addition, Emond "cannot crouch for long periods of time, which impacts his ability to engage in gold prospecting, which is his life’s passion"

      "He has been deeply emotionally affected by the Incident," Francis wrote.

      However, his injuries have not prevented him from working, the judge noted, and this "provides him with a much higher standard of living than what he had in 2005".