Pubdate: Wed, 28 May 2008
Source: Oak Bay News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Oak Bay News
Author: Erin Cardone


Saanich homeowners want more answers, but say event brought them
together as a family

An internal review into a wrongful police raid on a Saanich family's
house isn't good enough, says B.C. Civil Liberties' executive director.

Murray Mollard says these kinds of cases should be investigated by an
independent third party, rather than the Saanich police department.

"There needs to be a fair, thorough, independent and impartial process
to assess whether it was wrong," Mollard said. "There needs to be a
system of accountability when this happens."

He says B.C. Civil Liberties has made several calls to change the way
police actions are reviewed. As yet, to no avail.

Mollard was speaking about a May 16 incident involving Saanich police
officers, including the Emergency Response Team. The police busted the
door of the Cushing family's home on Regina Avenue, near Tillicum
Mall. Officers handcuffed and arrested three people - two parents and
their 20-year-old daughter.

Police raided the home after receiving a tip from an informant
believed to be reliable. The informant reportedly told police the
house had a concealed lab for making methamphetamine, or crystal meth.
Upon failing to find such lab, police released the family from
custody. On May 22, the department issued a public apology for the

"We traumatized an innocent family," said Saanich police's public
information officer Sgt. John Price. "We're doing everything we can to
make things right."

Police met with the Cushing family and their lawyer Richard Neary on
May 23.

"Things went really well (at the meeting)," said 19-year-old Robin
Cushing, who wasn't home at the time of the raid. "We didn't get all
the answers we were hoping for... details on what the informant said
is one of the main things."

She said the police had offered to pay for counselling services for
the family, as well as some wage compensation.

The B.C. Civil Liberties said that the actions of Saanich Police to
the incident show their trying to be open about the situation, and
that should be reassuring to the public.

"Police are humans. They make mistakes," he said. "The public's
confidence probably diminishes and that's a challenge for police
because they make errors. The apology helps restore public confidence
- -though whether those are just words or actions to satisfy family, I
don't know."

An investigation into the situation and consultations with the Cushing
family are ongoing, police say.

"This is going to make our family stronger," Robin said of the
incident. "There's obviously a lot of trauma still here. But our
neighbours knowing we're innocent, there's some comfort in that."
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