West Van woman receives settlement and apology from RCMP after human trafficking acquittal
Mumtaz Ladha sued for negligent investigation and defamation after the case against her fell apart
A West Vancouver woman who was charged and subsequently acquitted of human trafficking, and then went on to sue the RCMP, has reached a settlement and received an apology.
In a letter dated Aug. 7, RCMP Supt. Sean Sullivan confirms the civil suit Ladha launched against the RCMP in 2015 alleging negligent investigation and defamation had been resolved via a "compensation agreement."
"In the course of the criminal investigation, certain public statements were made by the RCMP that the Force now recognizes were improper," wrote Sullivan.
"On behalf to the RCMP, I would like to unreservedly apologize to you and your family for those statements."
Terms of the compensation agreement were not disclosed.
In a statement, Ladha said: "I look forward to resuming my normal life with my reputation and that of my family fully restored."
"The B.C. Supreme Court's emphatic Nov. 22, 2013 judgment finding that I was completely innocent of all charges and now the RCMP's unqualified apology for the improper narrative they spread when announcing charges against me concludes this terrible saga."
In 2011, the RCMP held a news conference accusing Ladha of human trafficking for allegedly bringing a teenage mother from Africa to Canada and forcing her to work as an unpaid housekeeper.
But Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon found Ladha not guilty on one charge of human trafficking, two counts of misrepresenting facts to the High Commission of Canada in Tanzania and misrepresenting facts to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
In her judgment, Fenlon said not only was there was reasonable doubt Ladha was guilty but that she was convinced Ladha's accuser was lying.
Ladha also sued B.C.'s civil forfeiture office after it filed a claim against her $4 million West Vancouver home, freezing the family's main asset when they needed cash to mount a defence.
Ladha's lawyer, David Martin, said he hopes the settlement and apology "will send the message that it is unacceptable for the police when announcing criminal charges to make comments about the evidence said to support the charges thereby acting as both investigators and judges."