Le Lézard
Subjects: LAW, PSF, MAT

Rights of Abuse Survivors Vindicated by New Brunswick Court of Appeal

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2023 /CNW/ - In 2022, the Plaintiff and class members were only partially successful in the Estabrooks sex abuse class action trial. Today, the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick overturned portions of the trial judgment that were decided against the survivors.

This important decision upholds the ideal that municipalities can be held accountable for abuse committed by their police officers.

Kenneth Estabrooks is one of Canada's most notorious pedophiles. He abused his authority as a member of the Saint John Police Force to abduct, confine, and sexually assault hundreds of children in the City of Saint John over the 1950's to 1970's.

At trial, the Court determined that no entity could be held responsible for Estabrooks' depraved conduct committed while he was a police officer. This decision was premised on archaic principles meant to protect police independence. The Plaintiff's position has always been that police independence and police accountability can work in tandem. They are both important, but neither can be prioritized to such an extent that it completely eliminates the other.

A unanimous panel of the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick agreed that the trial judge committed "reversible error" and imposed liability on the City of Saint John.

"It is one of the greatest honours of my career to work with and for these survivors" Celeste Poltak (class counsel) says. "We are humbled and grateful for the steadfast faith that the survivors have had in us. This decision confirms bedrock Canadian values: police accountability and the protection of vulnerable children."

SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP

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