Murrin revives lawsuit over 1995 beating

By DORIS FURLOT The Daily Courier

The man acquitted in Mindy Tran's murder is pursuing a civil lawsuit first filed in 1997 against the group of people he claims were involved in attempting to beat a confession from him

Shannon Murrin's claim for damages from the 1995 beating are aimed against the main police investigator, Gary Tidsbury, for allegedly ordering the attack, the federal Attorney General's office which is responsible for the RCMP, and the three men originally charged with the beating: Patrick Alan Dunn, Robert Patrick Holmes and Kenneth Lawrence MacDonald

The civil suit was originally filed in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster in 1997, only days before Murrin was charged with Mindy's murder. The case was recently revived by Murrin's Vancouverbased lawyer, Andrew Nathanson, who filed an intention to proceed on April 29

The Crown alleged that on Jan. 5, 1995, Dunn, Holmes, and MacDonald took Murrin to the spot in Mission Creek Regional Park where Mindy's body was found and attempted to beat a confession from him. While Dunn was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting Murrin, charges against Holmes and MacDonald were eventually dropped after their lawyers argued they were not tried in a timely fashion

Lawyer Michael Kennedy, who represented Murrin on weapons charges, said his client received a broken nose, 14 stitches to his head, numerous bruises to his legs and an ankle injury

Murrin spent more than 10 days in hospital recovering before he was arrested by police for pulling a handgun on Dunn earlier in the evening of the beating

Murrin pleaded guilty to two weapons offences, but told the court during his sentencing that his memory of the evening's events was a blur

"I tell you the truth, I can't remember what happened that night. We were all drinkin' that night," Murrin told the Kelowna judge, before being sentenced to two years in prison for the weapons offences

Tidsbury, retired from the RCMP since 1999, would not return phone calls from The Daily Courier

regarding the pending lawsuit

Back in 1995, in an interview with The Daily Courier

, Murrin alleged Tidsbury paid the three men to beat a confession out of him

At the time, Tidsbury was told by his superiors not to comment on the allegations

Murrin's allegations against Tidsbury, along with his experience being investigated and tried for Mindy's murder, will comprise half his autobiography, according to Newfoundland book publisher Winston Ruby

Ruby told The Daily Courier

that Murrin's lawyers wanted to see a copy of the upcoming book before it was published, especially with the lawsuit pending

"Shannon's story shows a consistency in character. It was never meant to be impartial," said Ruby

"Shannon's (now) living on a sort of road where people are walking and jogging with children. He would be run out of town if parents would think he would hurt their children," he said

Murrin's book is expected to be out in the fall. Ruby said Murrin and his girlfriend, former juror Kathy MacDonald, have been living on social assistance and writing since returning to the East Coast after Murrin was acquitted of Mindy's murder in 2000. MacDonald said she doesn't understand all the attention given to her relationship with Murrin

"It was something that progressed naturally after he started to come and see me in Vancouver to work on his book," said MacDonald

Believing Murrin is innocent, MacDonald is writing her own book about Mindy's murder investigation. She hopes to convince others that Mindy's death is still unsolved. "I'm just trying to get the story out," MacDonald said. Following six months as a juror on the high profile murder trial that saw Murrin acquitted of Mindy's murder, MacDonald said the evidence makes her believe the police investigation failed everyone involved

"It's a double tragedy, both Mindy's murder and Shannon being a victim," said MacDonald

Murrin's claims and allegations made in the pending civil suit have yet to be proven in court.