Manitoba

Judge who ruled in City of Winnipeg's favour in police-HQ lawsuit won't preside over related trial

The judge who ruled in favour of the City of Winnipeg's claim against a former chief administrative officer won't preside over a civil trial involving other people and companies who took part in the construction of the city's police headquarters.

Justice Glenn Joyal, who ruled former CAO took a bribe, won't hear case against dozens of other defendants

The city's lawsuit against dozens of people and companies involved the construction of its police headquarters may be heading for a trial. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The judge who ruled in favour of the City of Winnipeg's claim against a former chief administrative officer won't preside over a civil trial involving other people and companies who took part in the construction of the city's police headquarters.

Justice Glenn Joyal has informed legal counsel for the city and dozens of defendants in the police-HQ lawsuit he will not hear the city's case against police-headquarters contractor Armik Babakhanians, his company Caspian and other defendants in the case, a spokesperson for the city said Tuesday.

In early 2020, the city filed a suit against former Winnipeg chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl, Babakhanians, Caspian and other defendants, claiming in court documents they conspired to inflate and overcharge for work on the $214-million police headquarters project.

Later that year, Sheegl convinced the court to sever his proceedings, together with the companies FSS and 2686814 Manitoba Ltd. Both sides agreed to a summary judgment.

In March of this year, Joyal ruled in favour of the City of Winnipeg's civil claim that former chief administrative Sheegl accepted a bribe and breached his duty as a city officer by accepting $327,000 from Babakhanians.

Then on May 4, Joyal ordered Sheegl to pay the city $1.1 million in damages.

Sheegl's lawyer Robert Tapper has said his client intends to appeal the ruling.

The city's case against the remaining defendants has not been settled. The city has filed a new notice of motion to add other defendants to the lawsuit over the project, which was completed $79 million over budget in 2016.

It is customary for a judge who issues a summary judgment in a case not to preside over a trial in a similar or related case.

The police headquarters project has already been the subject of two City of Winnipeg audits as well as a five-year RCMP fraud-and-forgery investigation that concluded without charges in 2019.

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