A Port Coquitlam, B.C., husband and wife are losing their condo following a six-year court battle involving 50 appearances before 28 different judges in dozens of courts — all over their apartment's parking spot.
In a 14-page ruling, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Christopher Grauer says the problems began in August 2006 when a dispute over parking at the condo complex at 2378 Rindall Ave. led the strata council to declare the parking area common property and assign specific parking spots to units.
'The time to end their abuse of the court’s process is now.' — B.C. Supreme Court Justice Christopher Grauer
Cheng-Fu Bea and his wife, Huei-Chi Yang Bea, would not accept their strata's decision and launched a petition in B.C. Supreme Court, which Grauer says was their right.
The court ruled the strata was well within its jurisdiction to implement the new parking regime.
Instead of appealing the decision, the couple launched a series of new petitions, all of which failed because the argument had already been heard. The petitions were followed by various appeals that, according to the strata's lawyer, Phil Dougan, eventually involved 28 different judges in dozens of courts. The couple lost all the appeals.
Meanwhile, Grauer says in his ruling, the Beas continued to disobey the order restricting them to their assigned parking spot. The strata, which Dougan says has incurred $173,000 in legal costs defending itself from the Beas' court actions over six years, finally applied for a contempt of court ruling.
The Beas also owe $53,000 in court costs.
"There's no rhyme or reason to it," Dougan told CBC News. "It's simply been Mr. and Mrs. Bea trying again and again to find any judge they could, who might agree with them in several petitions that all argue the same thing."
Contempt of court
In a sternly worded judgment, Grauer says a person's property rights would usually be irrelevant to an appropriate sanction in a contempt of court proceeding, but "this case is not normal," wrote Grauer.
"Here, the property interest in question is precisely what fuels the Beas’ contemptuous acts and gives rise to the injustice that results."
"In this case, it appears certain that Mrs. Bea is destined to lose her property in any event through the enforcement of the many judgments for costs registered against it.
"The question is whether the owners should be put through the additional expense and frustration of proceeding in that way in the face of the Beas’ unremitting pattern of abuse of the court process, and the ever-mounting costs of dealing with them. I think not. The time to end their abuse of the court’s process is now."
The judge has given the Beas until June 15 to vacate the property and has authorized the RCMP to remove them by force if necessary.
Dougan says his clients are pleased, but fear an appeal.
As for the parking spot, it sells with the unit.