OTTAWA — The Crown attorney who pressed a controversial satanic sex-abuse case against two foster parent families in Saskatchewan did not act maliciously, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.
In a 7-0 decision, the court erased a malicious prosecution finding against Matthew Miazga.
Miazga, police officer Brian Dueck, and child therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys were all accused of malice in the 1991 case against the Klassen and Kvelo families based on complaints from three children.
The children told police that they had been sexually abused and forced into satanic rituals including the mutilation and killing of animals, dismemberment of babies and drinking of human blood.
The charges were all stayed after the children admitted to making up the accusations.
The families sued for malicious prosecution and won.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal later threw out the case against Bunko-Ruys, but found Miazga and Dueck liable.
Dueck didn’t appeal; Miazga did.
Justice Louise Charron, writing for the Supreme Court, said a finding of malice must meet a four-point test and the case against Miazga fell short.
She sympathized with the accused foster parents, but ruled for the prosecutor.
In 2004, the Saskatchewan government paid the plaintiffs in the malicious prosecution suit $2.46 million in a settlement while withholding some additional money pending the outcome of the legal process.
Justice Charron said the sex abuse accusations had to be put in the context of the early 1990s.
At the time, the rules of evidence had changed, eliminating the requirement for corroboration of unsworn evidence of children.
“There was also a prevailing and pervasive doctrine, now debunked but popular among child psychologists at the time, that ‘children don’t lie’ about abuse.”