The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned most of a $1.58 million judgment awarded to a Thunder Bay auto-recycling company and one of its owners who was acquitted of possession of stolen property.
Ricardo Mercuri and Central Auto Parts claimed the investigation, which used confidential informants, was negligently carried out and that police failed to familiarize themselves with auto-industry-recycling practices.
They won the award at trial against the Thunder Bay Police Services Board and its lead police investigator.
In overturning the award, the appeals court said the trial judge lacked expert evidence to determine whether the police acted reasonably in “conducting a specialized investigation into stolen parts.” It also found insufficient evidence for the judge to conclude that the police conduct was egregious.
The court let stand $70,000 in damage to vehicles and parts while stored in police custody.