Canada Commits an Abuse of Process in Newfoundland Indian Residential School Trial
ST. JOHN’S, Nov. 25, 2015 – On November, 25, 2015, Justice Robert Stack of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador held that Canada has committed an abuse of process against the Plaintiffs and the Province in the ongoing Indian Residential School trial.
In his reasons, Justice Stack found that Canada’s attempt to re-litigate a decision made 2 years ago in the very same proceedings constituted “a collateral attack” on the court’s previous decision.
Justice Stack also found that “It is unconscionable that a party would raise an important legal issue mid-trial that has already been decided against it – with its concurrence – earlier in the same proceeding”.
The Court also took the uncharacteristic step of ordering Canada to pay the legal costs of the Plaintiffs and the Province. Costs are only awarded in class proceedings in Newfoundland and Labrador in cases of egregious conduct.
Kirk Baert, lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, has stated “Canada’s primary tactic over the 8 years that this case has been litigated has been to delay its timely resolution. Class members are elderly and have died in the interim without any access to justice. The finding that Canada has abused this court’s process is long overdue.”
The Court also found that Canada’s attempt to assign fault to the Province for the administration of the Indian Residential Schools of that Province stands no chance of success. The Province is now released from the case.
In the decision, the Plaintiffs were also allowed to claim for amounts that Canada saved by underfunding indigenous schools in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1949.
The common issues trial of the Newfoundland and Labrador Indian Residential Schools will continue to be heard into the Spring of 2016.
For further information: For all media enquiries please contact: Kirk Baert: 416-595-2117