Damages awarded to victims of conjugal violence

A man who subjected his ex-wife to nine years of domestic violence was ordered by Quebec Superior Court to pay her nearly $47,000 in damages, the second time in less than a month that a Quebec court ordered an abusive spouse to pay damages for the violence they inflicted.

In a decision welcomed by family law experts and advocates against family violence who believe it is the harbinger of an emerging trend, Quebec Superior Court Justice Gregory Moore held that recent amendments to the federal Divorce Act (Act) “underline the sensibility that the the courts and parties must demonstrate faced with this challenge” to society. Justice Moore awarded more than $1,900 in damages, $30,000 in non-pecuniary damages and $15,000 in punitive damages.

“This is a developing trend because society in general rejects family violence, because there is heightened awareness by the courts over the issue of family violence, and because domestic violence is no longer viewed by the courts as being only a ground for granting divorce but as a possible cause of physical and psychological harm that must be compensated,” said Michel Tétrault, a family law expert who has written Droit de la famille.”

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In the news

Four men who bilked an 87-year old former teacher suffering from dementia were ordered by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal to pay her family nearly $380,000 in damages for financial exploitation and for preying on her vulnerable state.

“Evidence clearly demonstrates the defendants used their postion to the detriment of Ms. Even’s interests, who was an elderly person, handicapped and vulnerable,” held Judge Mario Gervais in Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Even) c. Lessard (Calfeutrage Multi-Scellant), 2020 QCTDP 3.

“The Court concludes that the defendants breached her right to the protection against exploitation, in violation of s. 48 of the (Quebec) Charter.”

But Judge Gervais also has choice words against the financial institution that Gemma Evens, since deceased, used. Judge Gervais said he is “perplexed” by the little action that a Laurentian Bank branch took when it noticed that $313,000 was taken out from her bank account over an 18-month period.

“This amount is stunning by its magnitude, given Ms. Even’s financial habits,” noted Judge Gervais. “It is distressing that the bank accepted Ms. Evan’s responses (when questioned about her withdrawals), without considering alerting competent authorities in spite of the presence of worrisome signs of financial exploitation.”

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Slapshot costs mom $44,000

A mother has been ordered to pay $44,000 in damages after his 15-year old son slapped a puck that accidently struck a nine-year old boy in the face at an outdoor rink.

In a 10-page ruling, Quebec Superior Court Justice Julien Lanctôt held Yannick Rousseau to be mostly responsible for the accident that knocked out Samuel Bonneville’s three front teeth. Samuel had to undergo more than $40,000 in dental work, and missed a month of school.

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