Convicted drug dealer settles 'malicious prosecution' lawsuit with Hamilton police

A lawsuit filed by convicted drug dealer Andre Gravelle that alleged "malicious prosecution" by Hamilton Police has been settled, the plaintiff's lawyer has confirmed.

Gravelle's lawyer said an undisclosed settlement was reached in mid-November

Police arrested and charged Gravelle with first-degree murder in 2005. The charges were later dropped. (CBC)

A lawsuit filed by convicted drug dealer Andre Gravelle that alleged "malicious prosecution" by Hamilton Police has been settled, the plaintiff's lawyer has confirmed. 

Gravelle's lawyer, Patrick Waldmann said Monday that the $25-million suit was settled earlier in the month, but he was unable to discuss any specific details or numbers.

An undisclosed settlement was reached on Nov. 14, Waldmann said, just over a week before a jury trial was set to begin. The suit was initially filed in 2007.

Hamilton police confirmed in an email that the matter had been resolved, but said they "will not be commenting any further."

In a statement provided to CBC News by Waldmann, Gravelle said he has "always proclaimed [his] innocence" and that there has "never been any violence" in his record. 

Gravelle is happy with the settlement, Waldmann said, and is looking forward to moving on with his life.

'Tunnel vision' investigation

In 2005, Gravelle was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in relation to the 1998 deaths of lawyer Lynn Gilbank and her husband Fred, who were gunned down in their Ancaster home.

The charges against Gravelle and a co-accused John Criotoru were dropped a year later by the Hamilton Crown Attorney, who stated there was no reasonable prospect of conviction in the case.

Gravelle's $25-million lawsuit — which he filed twelve years ago in response to the dropped charges — accused police of having "tunnel vision" by focusing their investigation on him.

The statement of claim said Hamilton Police Services had committed a malicious prosecution, abuse of power, abuse of process, malfeasance in a public office and false arrest, among other claims. 

Gravelle admitted in the claim to having a record for charges relating to trafficking and smuggling drugs. The document also noted that police considered him to be the head of the "Gravelle organized crime group" at the time of their investigation.

Hamilton Police attempted to move the malicious prosecution trial in 2015 before it began, from Toronto to Hamilton, but that request was denied by a Superior Court judge and police were ordered to cover Gravelle's court costs — totalling $10,000.

A separate $10-million claim filed by Gravelle, which claimed defamation of his name, was settled out of court last year, Waldmann said.