Gillespie sues cops for 2009 shooting

Bill Gillespie was shot by a Cowichan RCMP office in 2009.

Bill Gillespie was shot by a Cowichan RCMP office in 2009.

The man shot by police in Chemainus a year and-a-half ago is suing the RCMP officers involved.

Bill Gillespie’s attorney filed the lawsuit in Victoria on Feb. 2.

Gillespie is seeking general, punitive, aggravated and special damages, plus damages for breach of his charter rights, legal costs plus tax and interest, as well as past and future health care costs and any other relief the court deems just.

A dollar figure attached to those is not included, and Gillespie’s lawyer, James Legh, said they are still being calculated.

“His damages will be significant,” Legh added.

Legh is waiting for those named in the suit to file a defence, and said he doesn’t anticipate a speedy resolution in the legal matter.

“This process will probably take one to two years,” he explained.

Named in the legal documents are officers David Pompeo, David Barnett and B.C.’s solicitor general.

But RCMP spokesman Cpl. Darren Lagan has noted the detachment does not have an employee named David Barnett — the actual name of the other officer involved is David Birchett.

Gillespie was shot Sept. 18, 2009 after his vehicle was pulled over by police in Chemainus.

Gillespie was ordered from the vehicle but reports of what happened after that varies.

What’s known for sure is Gillespie was shot once in the upper body.

A lengthy investigation led by Victoria Police was launched after the shooting, with an investigative report forwarded to Crown counsel in December 2010.

Crown has yet to decide whether any charges will be laid in the matter, and the RCMP will not comment — on the contents of the investigative report, or Gillespie’s lawsuit — while the matters are in the court system.

Gillespie, meanwhile, says he wants more transparency from the police, and is frustrated he’s waited more than a year for answers.

“They almost killed me. I was in critical condition for 10 days — I could have died. Things could have been a lot worse and that’s what pisses me off. Why don’t they care?” he asked.

“I’ve got to take painkillers, and pills for my stomach. I don’t feel good most of the day. Put a bullet in the middle of the spine, and it effects everything.”

Gillespie explained the bullet that entered his body lodged in a spot doctors are hesitant to work with.

“It just hurts, everywhere,” he said. “Every movement I make is guarded, and it’s not fun.”