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Ex-cons sue over sex assault

The lawyer for two former prisoners who claim a guard sexually assaulted them at Burnaby’s notorious Oakalla Prison is disappointed a BC Supreme Court judge has struck part of their claim dealing with alleged provincial responsibility for the situation.

“The effect of this judgment from the court is to deny the plaintiffs the right to even raise Charter breaches at trial,” Karim Ramji said. “We are going to be appealing the judgment.”

In a case dating back to the 1980s when the Lower Mainland Regional Correctional Centre still existed, Errol Patrick Johnson and Cal Dean Kane seek damages arising from alleged sexual assaults or abuses by Roderic David MacDougall.

Oakalla is long gone, but it was located on 185 acres of land just above Deer Lake.

They’re not the only men alleging abuse. More than 200 have come forward with similar allegations.

Most recently, McDougall and the province sought to dismiss parts of the plaintiffs’ case, which would have put on trial alleged acts and omissions of the government for the entire 21-year period of MacDougall’s employment.

Specifically, the government had sought to exclude a report ordered by the plaintiffs. Justice David Masuhara agreed portions of the Dumond Report addressing the conduct of government in the years following the alleged sexual assaults should be struck.

The judge noted: “With respect to the sexual assaults and abuses alleged, (the province) acknowledges it is vicariously liable for such wrongs, if proven.”

The province and MacDougall had also argued a Constitutional question brought by the plaintiffs was an attempt “to turn the current proceeding into a wide-sweeping inquiry into the conduct of government over the totality of Mr. MacDougall’s career.”

Masuhara suggested the case might suit being handled as a class action. He also noted plaintiffs’ counsel have said damages sought would in in the millions of dollars.

Jeremy Hainsworth / Burnaby Now



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