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G8/G20 Communique: G20 Summit lawsuit and other legal news

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A $45 Million dollar lawsuit against the Toronto Police Services Board and the Attorney-General of Canada -- who represents the RCMP - was launched Thursday August 5, 2010. Filed in the Ontario Superior Court, the lawsuit seeks $45 million in damages for all those wrongfully arrested, detained, imprisoned or held by police during the G20 summit at locations across the city. The Ontario Provincial Police may be named at a later date.

The public face of the lawsuit -- 51 year old Sherry Good - said at a Friday morning press conference held at Queen's Park, "I'm just an ordinary person. I'm not an organizer, I'm not an activist," Good told a news conference held on Friday at Queen's Park. "I just feel that what happened to me and to hundreds of others was very wrong."

Approximately 1,090 people were detained during the G20 Summit weekend, the majority that were released without charges are the individuals the lawsuit is seeking to represent.

The next step involves the court's approval of the class-action lawsuit; a process, lawyer Eric Gillespie, admitted could take longer than a year. The lawsuit is meant to provide people affected by the G20 Summit policing efforts access to the justice system as one means of recourse.

Precedents include a similar lawsuit launched after mass arrests in Washington, D.C. in 2000 near the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings. The district was ordered to pay $13.7 million in damages to some 700 demonstrators and bystanders last month.

For more information, please see: www.G20classaction.com.

* According to the Movement Defence Committee of the Law Union of Ontario (a working group that includes lawyers and law students who provide legal support to activists in Toronto), the class action lawsuit is one of four options that activists can consider post-G20.

Other legal avenues include making a human rights complaint, lodging a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director or initiating a Small Claims Court action.

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