Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Ottawa Court can reject police & court transcripts as evidence in St. Anne's residential school cases

 

January 11, 2018



According to a recent ruling Ottawa Superior Court can continue to reject the use of police and court transcripts as evidence from survivors who attended St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in their student-on-student compensation claims The ruling, issued by Justice Paul Perell on Jan. 4, decided the courts could not force Ottawa to admit to abuse under the terms of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. The agreement created a system for setting compensation levels known as the Independent Assessment Process (IAP).

The IAP was created as an adversarial process where Canada could challenge evidence and survivors had to provide proof to support their claims for compensation.

Perell, in his ruling said the courts could not rewrite the settlement agreement stating, “Canada is under no general obligation to surrender … to make an admission of defeat,”

St. Anne’s Indian Residential School, which operated near the mouth of the Albany River along Ontario’s James Bay Coast gave Ottawa a legal victory in its ongoing, multi-faceted legal battle with residential school survivors.

The Catholic-run school used a homemade electric chair for punishment, while physical and sexual abuse was rampant throughout its dark corridors, according to the testimony of survivors, making St. Anne’s as one of the most notorious institutions.

Several chargres and convictions were laid as a result of the 1990’s OPPS investigation of St. Anne’s. However, Ottawa’s lawyers determined the evidence to be hearsay and refusing to accept witness transscripts from the OPP investigation and transcripts.

The standard is higher for residential school survivors seeking compensation for student-on-student abuse. Under the IAP, the survivor must prove that the abuse happened on school property and that either a government or church official knew or should have known of the abuse and did nothing to prevent it.

 

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