The B.C. Court of Appeal heard submissions last week as the District of Saanich seeks to overturn a 2011 B.C. Supreme Court decision that found a Saanich police officer “grossly negligent” in the shooting death of Majencio Camaso.
In April 2011, Justice Grant Burnyeat ruled that Const. Kristopher Dukeshire’s actions on July 11, 2004 negligently resulted in the death of Camaso.
“Dukeshire breached the duty of care owed to Mr. Camaso when he did not use the least amount of force necessary to carry out his duties,” Burnyeat wrote in his judgment.
He also said the Saanich police investigation into the death was negligent for a number of reasons, including the failure “to test the theory of whether Const. Dukeshire had reasonable grounds to believe it was necessary to shoot Mr. Camaso to protect himself.”
Burnyeat also ordered Saanich pay $354,000 in losses and damages to the Camaso family.
Saanich, on its end, entirely disputes the Supreme Court ruling, and that the officer used appropriate force for the circumstances.
Saanich’s municipal solicitor Chris Nation said this week that the Court of Appeal has reserved its decision, and has given no indication to either party when a ruling will be made.
“There’s a pretty substantial volume of material in front of them, so it’s likely not to be made that quickly,” Nation said.
On July 11, 2004, Camaso’s wife Teresa called 9-1-1 because her husband, who had known mental health issues, had attempted to set their apartment on fire.
A foot chase involving Camaso, three attending Saanich police officers and an ambulance attendant ensued when Camaso, 33, evaded police.
In a field at the former Richmond elementary school, Dukeshire fired three shots at Camaso, who was running at him brandishing one or two metal objects (possibly a pipe and crowbar).