Ivan Henry is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by five women who claim he sexually assaulted them more than 35 years ago — and plans to seek special costs against them if he succeeds.
Henry, who was wrongfully convicted of being a serial rapist and spent 27 years behind bars before being released, denies the claims of the women in a response to the lawsuit filed recently in B.C. Supreme Court.
In his response, he objects that the five plaintiffs are not identified by name and says their failure to do so amounts to a failure to plead the facts necessary to support their claims.
Henry also points to the fact that in October 2010, the B.C. Court of Appeal set aside his 1983 convictions and substituted acquittals. And in June 2016, B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson awarded him $8 million in damages for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
He says that because the courts have already decided the issues, the matter cannot be re-litigated.
If he succeeds in having the lawsuit dismissed, he intends to seek an award of special legal costs.
The bases for the special costs include that the women are alleging criminal acts and serious misconduct by Henry, and that the plaintiffs had knowledge of the prior court decisions when they launched their lawsuit.
Scott Stanley, a lawyer for the five women — referred to in the lawsuit as Jane Does — said Henry’s response correctly points out he was acquitted.
“The Jane Does say there is a big difference between someone who has been merely acquitted as compared to someone who has actually been exonerated,” Stanley wrote in an email. “They look forward to having their voices heard in the civil proceedings.”
The five women claim they were the victims of early morning attacks by Henry in their Vancouver apartments. The alleged offences occurred over a two-year period, from 1981 to 1982.
The women are claiming they suffered severe personal injuries including physical injuries from sexual assault in addition to post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. They’re seeking general, aggravated, punitive and special damages.
Henry was arrested in July 1982 and charged with three counts of rape, two counts of attempted rape and five counts of indecent assault involving eight different women.
In March 1983, Henry, who represented himself at trial, was found guilty as charged, declared a dangerous offender and ordered to be jailed indefinitely.
His initial appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal was dismissed after he failed to come up with the $4,000 he needed to pay for trial transcripts.
Over the subsequent years, Henry maintained his innocence while serving his sentence and filed numerous other appeals from prison, all of which were dismissed.
He carried a copy of a controversial police photo lineup picture in a plastic container on his person, afraid that it would be stolen.
The photo lineup was a contributing factor in the appeal that finally succeeded in securing his release, after another suspect in the attacks was identified and a special prosecutor was appointed to review the Henry file.