Last Updated Thursday, October 3, 2019 11:57AM EDT
Three teenagers facing charges in a sexual assault scandal at St. Michael’s College School last year have pleaded guilty.
The teens pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon on Thursday morning inside a Toronto courtroom.
One of the three teenagers also pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography.
In November of last year, six boys were charged in connection with the alleged sex assault of a student at the all-boys private school.
According to police, videos of the incident, which occurred inside a washroom at the school, began circulating between students and on social media.
A few months later, police said they were investigating two additional incidents. Eight students were expelled from school as a result and a seventh student was formally charged by police.
The students were each facing charges of sexual assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.
Charges against one of the seven students were withdrawn in August and the cases against two others have concluded, although Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General would not say at the time what the outcomes were of those cases.
The last student facing charges has a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 17.
The teenagers who pleaded guilty on Thursday are scheduled to attend a sentencing hearing on Nov. 14.
They cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Jockey Jeffrey Burningham is a popular, and unlucky, figure around Hastings Racecourse Michael Bye Photo / PNG
Jockey Jeffrey Burningham barely had time to celebrate his 47th birthday before he was thrown from a horse at Hastings Racecourse last Sunday and rushed to Vancouver General Hospital with, among other injuries, a broken back.
The father of two, whose birthday was July 11, had successful surgery late Tuesday according to his wife, Lacie.
“The prognosis is really good,” she said. “He’s got his cellphone, he’s texting and talking to people.”
Burningham’s mount Proud Cause clipped the heels of the horse in front heading into the final turn and the jockey was thrown and run over. He lay motionless before ambulance attendants reached him.
No horses were injured, but the jockey suffered a broken L3 vertebra, broken shoulder blade, broken ribs and a bruised lung.
“He’s very popular,” Hastings Racecourse spokesman Greg Douglas said of Burningham. “It’s amazing he’s still alive. He’s been banged up more than any jockey I’ve ever heard of.”
A couple of years after a serious riding accident in 2014, Burningham told The Vancouver Sun he’d “almost died” after suffering a collapsed lung, five broken ribs and a severe concussion.
“The doctors told me I’d never ride again,” he said.
But that didn’t stop him any more than a broken L2 vertebra did after a tree in the family’s yard fell on him in 2008.
“He recovered in about six months and was riding again in a year,” Lacie Burningham said.
A one-time trainer and now assistant to race secretary Nichelle Milner at Hastings, she witnessed Sunday’s accident.
“I don’t consider it bad luck; he’s alive,” she said. “Any injury where they don’t bury you six feet under, you’re pretty lucky.”
The couple, who have a 20-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, met 22 years ago at a Cloverdale Rodeo dance and she knew exactly what the risks were when they married six months later.
“People ask what it’s like to be married to a rider. I say it’s like being married to a police officer or firefighter. They go on call and there’s a risk to it, and it’s the same being married to a rider; there’s a risk to it.
“I knew that when we got married and I still signed up for it.”
Such serious injuries as Burningham’s are rare at Hastings, Douglas said, but when they occur it affects the small and tight community at the track.
“It’s always there, the fear. It’s always in the back of your mind when you have a 120-pound jockey on the back of a 1,200-pound animal.”
Every track in Canada contributes money to the jockeys’ guild for a fund to help cover injuries, which is paid out depending on the number of mounts a jockey has in a year.
One of the roles of the Jockeys’ Benefit Association of Canada, which has about 150 members, is to negotiate disability insurance, career-ending insurance and life insurance.
“Due to the danger inherent to the occupation, a jockey would be unable to obtain such insurance as an individual, and would not be able to survive at a racetrack without it,” the association’s website says.
“When a jockey needs to make an insurance claim, the association assists the jockey with the necessary forms, reviews the claim and ensures proper response from the insurance company.”
Otherwise, as a B.C. resident Burningham is entitled to B.C. medical coverage, but as an independent contractor is not eligible for WorkSafeBC.
Horsemen (and women) at Hastings are setting up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses for Burningham that are not otherwise covered.
Burningham will in all likelihood take the advice he gives other riders who have suffered severe injury, Lacie Burningham said: Get back on that horse.
“That’s his philosophy. Racing is pretty much his life.
“Horses make him happy. They’ve all got different personalities and he loves figuring them out, which is why I’ve never asked him to quit.”
Attorney General David Eby speaks about changes coming to ICBC during a press conference in the press gallery at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday February 6, 2018. CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Last month, Attorney General David Eby stated that a key driver in increasing ICBC costs is “plaintiff lawyers strategically building the value of the claim,” suggesting there is something untoward in lawyers doing their jobs. His statement implies that claims being advanced are somehow not genuine.
Eby’s swipe at the legal community is disappointing and misplaced. As a lawyer and the attorney general responsible for the administration of justice in British Columbia, Eby knows better. By taking a shot at the representation lawyers are sworn to provide their clients, Eby suggests that through the legal process injured British Columbians get compensation they don’t deserve. The effect is a loss of respect for the legal process.
Eby may be better-spoken than U.S. President Donald Trump, but the attack on the rule of law is no less alarming than Trump’s frequent jabs at the American legal system.
Insurance Corp. of B.C. claims take time to resolve because injuries sometimes take time to resolve as well. While most people will recover from injuries from a motor-vehicle accident in a few months, others develop permanent symptoms. It is often not possible to know at the time of the crash what injuries will heal and what will lead to a lifetime of disability.
Eby’s comments only serve to distract, not contribute, to an understanding of what has really happened at ICBC. As Eby knows, ICBC’s financial position is a product of mismanagement, rising crash rates and past governments treating the public insurance company as the government’s piggy bank.
No one wants to have to hire a lawyer. Our clients only want a fair settlement and to be done with the insurance-claim process as quickly as possible. If ICBC consistently made fair offers early in the process, most claims would settle and huge costs would be avoided. Instead, ICBC denies that claimants were injured, denies that they need treatment, and denies that their lives have been turned upside down by crashes caused by careless drivers.
Rather than deal fairly with injured individuals up front, claims get sent to ICBC defence counsel who (quite properly) strategically build the defence to the claim. This leads to more injured individuals needing counsel and helps drive up costs.
Last year, ICBC’s losses were revised from about $300 million to $1.3 billion over the course of a few months. The massive restatement of ICBC’s financial position demonstrates that ICBC management was asleep at the wheel — financial distracted driving at its worst.
Where was the accountability? No one at ICBC resigned or was fired. Instead, Eby rewarded ICBC by allowing the Crown corporation to design a system that “caps” compensation for British Columbians injured by careless drivers.
Eby needs to turn his attention to where it belongs by reducing the carnage on our roads caused by careless drivers, reducing distracted driving and by making those who injure others to pay for the harms and losses that they have caused.
Those who make a mess must be responsible for cleaning it up. Under the system now being championed by Eby, injured British Columbians will be left holding the broom.
Ron Nairne is the incoming president of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.
Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at [email protected].
The National Energy Board will hear from Indigenous groups in Victoria next week as part of reconsideration hearings for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
Sessions are set to take place at the Delta Hotel Ocean Pointe Resort beginning Monday, Nov. 26 and continuing through Thursday.
Over the week, the board will meet with members of the Stó:lō Tribal Council, Kwantlen First Nation, Tsawout First Nation, Tsartlip First Nation and Squamish Nation from B.C., and the Swinomish, Tulalip, Suquamish and Lummi Nations from the U.S.
In August, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa’s approval of the project, saying the NEB’s initial environmental assessment was flawed.
The project was sent back to the review phase to address tanker traffic concerns and engage in more meaningful consultation with First Nations.
That decision came on the same day Kinder Morgan sold the pipeline to the Canadian government for $4.5-billion, not including construction costs.
In September, the NEB was given six months to complete the new review. It completed one hearing in Calgary on Tuesday, with the second taking place in Victoria next week.
First Nations and environmental groups have expressed concerns about the potential for diluted bitumen spills and increased tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast if the pipeline expansion is built.
Possibly expecting a large turnout of protesters, Victoria police said they would deploy temporary CCTV cameras near the Delta for the hearings.
After the new NEB hearings conclude, the board will have to submit a report with its new findings by Feb. 22, 2019.
Published Thursday, September 20, 2018 11:19AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 20, 2018 12:38PM PDT
Just a day after homeless occupants from a former tent city moved into Goldstream Provincial Park, they and other campers have been told to leave.
West Shore RCMP arrived at the park Wednesday night briefly blocking access and telling campers it would be closed indefinitely after 11 a.m. Thursday.
Reports then surfaced that campers would be granted an additional 24 hours to pack up and move out of the camp whlie the government collected further information.
The park shutdown applies to all campers, not just the 25 or so tent city residents who moved in Wednesday night.
Those homeless campers said they were under the impression they’d be able to stay at the park for two weeks after they were evicted from two Saanich parks in a week.
“I went and talked to park ranger and he said ‘Oh we’re trying to nip it in the bud, we don’t want to see what’ll happen in two weeks from now,'” said camper Morgan Van Humbeck.
Tent city organizer Chrissy Brett called on B.C.’s premier to discuss options with the group instead of evicting them.
“John Horgan if you’re watching this I would ask you to ask your ministers to come down and have a conversation and sit around the one table we have left, and tell people to their face that they have no right to exist here in British Columbia if you’re homeless,” said Brett.
But Langford Mayor Stew Young said problems like open drug use and theft moved in along with the campers, prompting the shutdown.
“This is not a place to have needle sharps and other activity around that neighbourhood especially,” Stew Young told CFAX 1070. “We’ve already, from yesterday, had two individual instances of males in the washroom shooting up in front of other families that are in there and camping, so those people have left.”
Mounties referred questions to BC Parks, saying they were assisting the organization by enforcing regulations of the Parks Act.
On Thursday, B.C.’s housing minister Selina Robinson issued a statement saying that the campground was closed to ensure public safety after concerns were expressed by RCMP.
“The park is not an appropriate place for the establishment of a tent city. We urge those at Goldstream to work with staff to identify better housing solutions,” Robinson said.
She said the province’s goal is to get people into shelters and longer-term housing, but a CTV News report Wednesday found that all shelters in the Capital Region were full. Robinson pointed to 25 new shelter beds opening at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre Oct. 1.
She also noted that in the Capital Region, only the City of Victoria had identified a site for modular units of supportive housing that the government has committed to build.
That changed Thursday, when the District of Saanich announced it had identified a site near Saanich city hall for modular units to be built.
The section of land is north of the Saanich Fire Hall on Vernon Avenue.
“We’re hopeful that by providing this land, we’re moving in the right direction to secure housing and satisfy some of the need for housing in the region,” said Chief Administrative Officer Paul Thorkelsson.
The district said it will make another announcement soon once further details of the project are confirmed.
We’ve offered access to land at the Municipal Hall campus to BC Housing to provide modular supportive housing units for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. #saanich#bcpolihttps://t.co/17BhrPKFx6
BBG Constructive & Security Installation Consultants is a multi-disciplinary property and construction consultancy. Working with businesses on built-environment projects, we are client-focused with the recognised experience, knowledge base, expertise and track record to tackle projects irrespective of complexity from a position of strength.