‘Deserves to feel how I did’

June 21, 2019

An Indigenous West Kelowna woman who was interrogated after claiming she was sexually assaulted, hopes justice will be served by suing the RCMP officer who interviewed her.

The woman, who is now 24, is suing Cpl. Kenneth Hall, the Attorney General of Canada and B.C. Minister of Justice after a shocking video of the police interrogation.

The woman was 17 years old and under the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development when she told her guardian she had been raped by a 20-year-old man.

Her lawyer, Michael Patterson, says Hall’s actions were brutal, arrogant and high handed.

“You can not use brutal police interrogation as punishment,” said Patterson.

Video of the almost two-hour police interrogation at the Kelowna RCMP detachment shows the teen was left alone with the male officer for extended periods. Her social worker, Siobhan Stynes, was never present.

In the video, the male officer asks the teen: “Were you at all turned on during this at all … even a little bit? And “How does that compare to things in the past, sexually?”

The lawsuit also alleges that two employees from the ministry were negligent.

“We filed a notice of civil claim against RCMP Cpl. Kenneth Hall because of the egregious way he dealt with my client,” said Patterson. “He knew exactly what he was doing, and he knew he was harming her.”

The woman tells Castanet that she is still seeing a psychologist because of the incident and says she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and made suicide attempts.

“I am glad his name is out there. He deserves what he gets, he deserves to feel the way I did,” she says. “I hope he realizes the true impact. I hope they are training their officers.”

Patterson says he and his client hope this never happens again.

“We hope that there will be a learning process for Cpl. Hall and officers,” said Patterson. “That they will settle the claim and pay damages to my client.”

Documents obtained by Castanet show Hall was told by MCFD that they had “numerous concerns” with the teen and that she was a “compulsive liar.”

“Hall would not be in this position had he not been pushed or encouraged to do this by the MCFD social workers,” said Patterson. “He should have followed his professional training. He has a responsibility … to know that this is a vulnerable youth.”

In May, Hall was given the St. John Life Saving Award for his application of a tourniquet to the severe leg wound of a pedestrian who had been struck by a motorcycle in May 2017.

The woman’s claim has not been proven in court, and RCMP have not commented further on the matter.