From 2013 to 2015, The Justice Centre represented Nicholas McLeod in his claim against Mount Royal University (“MRU”) in Calgary. In February 2013, Nicholas was peacefully distributing pro-life literature in a building on campus when confronted by MRU security guard Jeff Beddome, who ordered Nicholas to stop immediately, because Beddome considered the literature to be “offensive.” Nicholas initially refused to stop distributing his pamphlets, but then agreed to leave on condition that he could retrieve his jacket from a locker, as it was a very cold winter evening. Beddome and other security guards tried to force Nicholas to leave the building without permitting him to retrieve his jacket, which was in a nearby locker.
The security guards assaulted Nicholas, forced him to the ground, hand-cuffed him, and confined him to a small room for several hours, with his hands still cuffed painfully behind his back. Nicholas had video-recorded the incident on his cell phone, but one of the MRU guards removed the SD memory card from Nicholas’ cell phone. That guard was later charged with theft, and admitted in court to having taken this evidence.
On behalf of Nicholas, the Justice Centre requested an apology from MRU, appropriate compensation for physical and psychological suffering endured by Nicholas, and revisions to campus security policies and training. MRU rejected this proposal in its entirety, making court action necessary.
In 2015, the court action settled without continuing further to trial. MRU president Dr. David Docherty apologized to Nicholas for the behaviour of MRU security guards, their unnecessary use of force, the unlawful detention, and the violation of Charter rights. In his letter of apology, Dr. Docherty stated that “supplemental training will be conducted to ensure that community officers understand the interaction between the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and their duties in maintaining a safe campus environment.”