Reasonable police officer would not have considered failure to hold handrail to be offence

Torts - Malicious prosecution and false imprisonment - Liability of parties

Public transportation user took descending escalator located in subway station but decided to ignore pictogram warning users to hold escalator handrail. Police ordered her several times to hold handrail but user refused to comply. Police officer grabbed her and led her to holding room where she was handcuffed and forced her to sit on chair. Police officer finally gave her statement of offence for $100 for disobeying pictogram . User brought civil liability action against police officer, his employer (municipality) and public transport agency. Trial judge dismissed action, holding that police officer had not incurred any civil liability and that user should have cooperated. User’s appeal was dismissed, majority of Court of Appeal holding that trial judge’s decision was well founded. User appealed further . Appeal allowed. Reasonable police officer in same circumstances would not have considered failure to hold handrail to be offence . Public transport agency, for its part, committed fault by teaching police officers that pictogram in question imposed obligation to hold handrail. Given that police officer committed fault in question in carrying out his mandate, public transport agency was also liable in its capacity as mandator. As police officer’s principal, municipality should be held liable for his fault. Therefore, public transport agency, municipality and police officer should be ordered solidarily to pay $20,000 to user.

Kosoian c. Société de transport de Montréal (2019), 2019 CarswellQue 10282, 2019 CarswellQue 10283, 2019 SCC 59, 2019 CSC 59, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Gascon J., Côté J., Brown J., Rowe J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); reversed (2017), 2017 CarswellQue 10898, 2017 QCCA 1919, Dutil J.C.A., Vauclair J.C.A., and Schrager J.C.A. (C.A. Que.).

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