Court rules that homeless won’t pay document fees at this time

Members of the homeless community will not have to pay $29,000 for police documents, pending future decision at trial

A homeless camp on Gladys Avenue that remains as the city is involved with a legal case against its bylaws prohibiting camping in parks.

A homeless camp on Gladys Avenue that remains as the city is involved with a legal case against its bylaws prohibiting camping in parks.

The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that members of Abbotsford’s homeless community, involved in a lawsuit against the city of Abbotsford, will not have pay for police documents related to the case at this point in time.

Pivot Legal Society, which is representing members of the homeless community, asked that the homeless not have to pay roughly $29,000 to collect documents from police related to a constitutional challenge of Abbotsford’s bylaws against camping in parks that will head to court in June. The court ruled that the determination of who will pay the costs will be decided during the trial.

Pivot is looking for documents about how homeless people are treated in their interactions with police, such as end-of-shift logs for bike patrol officers, and files specific to eight individuals who have been homeless.

While the city is the party named in the suit, there are allegations about the police department and Pivot argues the documents are necessary to their case.

A judge had previously ruled the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) was to be treated as a third party and was entitled to recover any costs stemming from the case.

Before the case went to the Court of Appeal, Const. Ian MacDonald told The News that there were real costs to having police collect the documents, including having three people collect the information, and if Pivot doesn’t cover the costs, it will fall on the taxpayers of Abbotsford.