Wayne Penner v. Regional Municipality of Niagara Regional Police Services Board, et al.

This case concerns the doctrine of issue estoppel and whether it should apply to findings of a police discipline hearing which would prohibit an individual complainant from seeking compensation from the courts for alleged police misconduct. This case raises the question of whether the findings of a police disciplinary tribunal prevent the applicant suing the police in a civil action for unlawful arrest and unreasonable force. At issue is access to justice, and whether police-run police disciplinary proceedings can replace the role of the court.

The BCCLA was granted leave to intervene in this case. The BCCLA argued that the issue estoppel rule should be interpreted so that it respect’s a person’s right to access to justice by having their civil and constitutional rights claims heard by a court. The BCCLA also argued that it is in the public interest to ensure the judiciary remains an independent arbiter of allegations of violations against branches of the government, including the police.


The BCCLA is represented by Robert D. Holmes, Q.C. of Holmes & King, Barristers & Solicitors.