Rose Harbour man may see justice soon

  • Jun. 2, 2003 12:00 p.m.

A local good Samaritan, who went out of his way to retrieve a Parks Canada inflatable in a storm five years ago, is on the verge of getting justice from the court system.
Instead of getting the thanks he thought he deserved, Tassilo Goetz Hanisch of Rose Harbour was charged with mischief, then saw the charge dismissed in 1999 for lack of evidence.
Most people would let the matter lie, but Mr. Hanisch felt his reputation had been damaged, and launched a civil suit against Parks Canada for false arrest and defamation.
“I was treated unfairly, entirely unfairly, and I think it is way out of line”, he told the Observer on Monday, “I simply want to have justice done.” He was in court for five days last week in Vancouver, and expects the court to rule, and rule in his favour, by the end of this month.
“The judge made so many (positive) comments, which I am told is very, highly unusual,” Mr. Hanisch said, “He was a crown prosecutor before, and cannot understand how the crown would have proceeded on these grounds to start with.”
Mr. Hanisch waded into the cold wind-whipped waters near Rose Harbour at the southern end of the islands five years ago, and guided the errant $7,500 Zodiac to shelter, where he secured it overnight, then called Parks Canada.
Instead of being thanked for his help, Parks Canada said he refused to return the boat, and had him charged with mischief. He was handcuffed, then flown one-way to Queen Charlotte, booked, fingerprinted and turned loose. He had to wait three days before finding a ride back to Rose Harbour.
Mr. Hanisch is seeking damages, which his lawyer Dan Burnett has set at between $130,000 and $200,000. “I think he really wanted a thank-you,” Mr. Burnett said last week.
Mr. Hanisch feels he was treated poorly by Parks Canada so that he would sell his 166-acres at Rose Harbour, which has been surrounded by the park since the park/heritage site was created in the late 1980’s.
Mr. Hanisch says that his relations with Parks Canada now are much better. “With the new management people that are here right now, it has greatly improved,” he said.