The Power of Lexis Nexis

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HEADLINE: Crime victims sue Ottawa: Allege negligence
SOURCE: Southam News
February 28, 2002

Victims of prisoners who committed crimes while on parole or under federal supervision – including brutal murders – have filed lawsuits against Ottawa seeking almost $100 million in damages in the last 12 years.

The figure is revealed in federal documents that also show that the number and size of the lawsuits have climbed steadily, with two-thirds launched in the last six years.

Victims and their families have filed 35 civil suits against the Correctional Service of Canada, the National Parole Board and the Attorney-General of Canada since 1988, mainly alleging the government and parole officials were negligent in their premature release of dangerous criminals.

Many of the families, and victims who survived their ordeals, have sought compensation for grisly crimes that have been among the most highly publicized in Canada.

The lawsuits vary widely in amount, ranging from a low of $1,000 from a man whose property was damaged to $16 million from the family of the late Sylvain Leduc.

The Vanier, Ont., teen was abducted and tortured by three gang members, including John Richardson, who was released from prison after serving two-thirds of his sentence, despite reports and assessments that he would almost certainly re-offend.

Leduc’s grandmother, Theresa McCuaig, said the family is suing to send a message “big time” to all of the federal officials involved in Richardson’s release in 1995, just seven weeks before her grandson was murdered.

Other claims against the federal government include:- The family of Lailaine Silva, a Calgary 7-Eleven clerk who was raped and strangled by a prisoner unlawfully on parole, is seeking $809,000. Silva was 22 when she was abducted from the store in 1993 by Luc Gregoire, a violent offender who should have been in jail at the time for violating parole for a 1986 armed robbery conviction.

– The family of Isabelle Bolduc – a 22-year-old music student from Sherbrooke who was kidnapped, raped, beaten with an iron pipe and murdered in 1996 by two parolees – has filed a $2-million lawsuit.-

John Weedmark, of Nepean, Ont., filed a suit three years ago for $8.1 million. Weedmark was a senior Nortel Networks executive who suffered brain damage when he was attacked by a robber on day parole while shopping in Kingston, Ont.-

The biggest claim is from a family, identified only as McConkey, seeking $31 million for “assault and battery causing bodily injury” by paroled prisoners


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