Wednesday, August 5, 1998

Phinjo Gombu

p. B1.

Doe deadline passes without appeal

The deadline to appeal the Jane Doe verdict against the Toronto police service for the "utterly negligent" handling of the balcony rapist case came and went yesterday without action.

It marked the formal end of Doe's 11-year-old legal battle to hold police accountable for not warning her that a serial rapist was preying on women in the Church and Wellesley Sts. area in the summer of 1986. Doe was later assaulted.

Until the passing of yesterday's 4 p.m. deadline -- one month after Madame Justice Jean MacFarland's scathing indictment of the force -- there was uncertainty if an appeal would be filed because of comments by the Toronto police union and the association representing chiefs of police in Ontario.

Both groups had said an appeal of the verdict -- which lambasted police for failing to warn Doe and using her as bait -- was necessary because of its future implication.

The board, which decided not to appeal last Thursday, left the possibility open by saying individual officers cited by Doe in her lawsuit could appeal on their own.

City councillors had been lobbied by the city solicitor and the law firm which fought and lost the Doe case to reconsider their earlier decision not to appeal.

Councillors refused to buy lawyers' arguments that failing to appeal would leave the city open to millions of dollars in future lawsuits. Instead, council and the police services board decided it was time to end Doe's legal ordeal, saying other lawsuits would be handled one case at a time.

"I feel relieved," Doe said yesterday. "It's been a very long journey that I feel has come to end."

She said she hoped to continue working to help improve sexual assault investigations.

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: February 15, 1999
Last modified: February 15, 1999

J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710