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Posts Tagged "judge"

30Jul

Health-care aide not guilty of sexually assaulting elderly patients, judge rules | CBC News

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A Saanich, B.C., man accused of sexually assaulting elderly patients during his time working as a health-care aide has been found not guilty of all charges against him.

Amado Ceniza, 40, was acquitted Monday of three counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual touching of a person with a disability, Crown has confirmed. 

Ceniza was charged last July after three women claimed he’d assaulted them while working as their aide at Aberdeen Hospital in Victoria. The facility houses many seniors requiring long-term care.

Ceniza pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations against him.

In court on Monday, B.C. Provincial Court Judge Dwight Stewart said he was concerned about possible, unintentional collusion between alleged victims. 


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4Jun

Housing co-op’s policies ‘oppressive and unfairly prejudicial’ to young family: B.C. judge

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A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found that a Vancouver housing co-op’s policies toward a young family of four struggling to get by in a two-bedroom unit to be harsh and unfair.


Arlen Redekop/Postmedia/File

New policies implemented by a Vancouver housing co-op are “oppressive and unfairly prejudicial” to a family of four struggling to get by in a two-bedroom unit as well as to other co-op families considered to be “under-housed,” a judge has ruled.

The family was on a waiting list for seven years before being accepted as members of the Vancouver East Cooperative Housing Association in 2013 and being offered a two-bedroom basement suite in a rancher-style house built in the 1940s.

At the time the couple’s oldest boy was six and their youngest two and with only two bedrooms in the home, the family, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, were considered to be “under-housed” members of the co-op.

The oldest boy, who is now 12, has a disability which is sufficiently serious that he requires his own bedroom. The other bedroom is occupied by the parents and the younger boy.

“The evidence also establishes that the eight-year-old is negatively impacted by this situation,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Francesca Marzari said in a ruling posted on the court’s website Tuesday.

“Furthermore, according to the petitioners, the 12-year-old’s condition is worsening. On any measure, including the Co-op’s policies, the petitioners have been and are inadequately housed. The Co-op does not dispute this.”

When the family moved into their unit, the same policies relating to unit allocation on the basis of housing need had been in place for well over a decade, court heard.

A member who was “over-housed” was someone living in a unit where there were more bedrooms than people and was responsible for self-reporting their situation to the co-op’s board.

Thus two people residing in a two-bedroom unit would be considered appropriately housed but two people living in a three-bedroom unit were over-housed.

Since moving into their co-op unit, the family has attempted to get permission to move into a larger unit to no avail.

When the co-op refused to act, the couple filed a petition in late 2017 to have the court rule that the policies were oppressive or unfairly prejudicial to their interests.

They challenged, in particular, a new policy that allowed non-member adults or housemates to move in with over-housed units, avoiding the requirement that over-housed members might have to move.

The policy, voted in by the membership in May 2018, substantially increased the co-op’s tolerance of over-housing by “essentially removing the problem of over-housing by nearly defining it out of existence,” noted the judge.

“The evidence suggests that the petitioners’ efforts have garnered them negative and increasingly hostile attention from the board and other members of the Co-op, particularly as a result of this litigation.”

The judge concluded that the changes were a marked departure from the reasonable expectations of the under-housed members of the co-op and were oppressive and unfairly prejudicial.

“I find that the effects of the identified portions of the New Policy to be harsh, burdensome, and inherently unfair, particularly in the context of a Co-op that has such a long-standing under-housed population.”

Marzari struck down several provisions of the policy and edited parts of others in addition to ordering disclosure from the board.

The co-op has 39 units in 13 buildings at six locations. The association has existed since 1979.

The members collectively own and support the co-op and its units and provide affordable and sustainable housing that “nurtures a diverse community,” according to the co-op’s website.

Deborah Labun, a lawyer for the petitioners, said Tuesday that she was “impressed” by the judge’s ruling.

“It’s so clear that she got down with these facts and really thought hard about what would be just. She really put in the work, defended her decision on a broad review of the law.”

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twitter.com/keithrfraser

 




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27Feb

Woman wrongfully held in B.C. hospital for almost one year: Judge

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File: A woman wearing hospital scrubs walks towards the ER at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, BC, November, 27, 2013.


RICHARD LAM / PROVINCE

The Supreme Court of British Columbia says a woman’s rights were violated when she was held in hospital for almost one year without being provided with any written reasons for the detention or an opportunity for legal advice.

In a ruling released this week, Justice Lisa Warren describes the 39-year-old woman as “highly vulnerable” and says she suffers from cognitive impairments, mental health issues and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

The ruling says staff at the Fraser Health Authority had good reason to believe the woman, identified as A.H. in a court document, had been abused and was at risk of serious harm when she was taken into care on Oct. 6, 2016.

But it says there is also no doubt the health authority could have promptly applied for a provincial court order authorizing the provision of support and services for her.

The decision says A.H. was held in conditions that violated her residual liberty, including being placed in mechanical restraints, not allowed out of a facility to get fresh air and restrictions were placed on visitor, phone and internet access.

A provincial court judge granted the required order to the health authority on Sept. 22, 2017, on the grounds the woman was abused or neglected, was incapable of deciding not to accept the services proposed and would benefit from the support.


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25Jan

Lawsuit over Saanich washroom videos can go ahead, judge rules

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Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.


Jason Payne / PNG

A proposed class-action lawsuit against the Red Barn Market at Mattick’s Farm and a former assistant manager who allegedly video-recorded employees using the washroom is moving forward.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brian MacKenzie lifted a stay of proceedings this week on the claim by two former Red Barn Market employees. It had been imposed when the former assistant manager, Matthew Schwabe, filed for bankruptcy on April 24, 2018.

Schwabe had a monthly deficit of $50 and his total debts amounted to $4,484.

“The very minor financial difficulty in which Mr. Schwabe found himself when he decided to file for bankruptcy three months after the plaintiffs filed their claim leads me to conclude that he is not an ‘honest unfortunate’ who should be ‘rewarded by a release of liability,’ if he is found to be responsible for capturing and disseminating the explicit images,” MacKenzie wrote in his judgment.

The former employees also asked for a court order for disclosure of documents, recordings and images from Saanich police, which was granted.

“The plaintiffs are very pleased with the court’s decision today, as it allows the case to move ahead. From the police records we hope to obtain a better understanding of how many other people were recorded,” Victoria lawyer Sean Hern said. “And with the bankruptcy stay lifted, we are looking forward to bringing our application to certify the case as a class proceeding.”

The claim by Jennifer Burke and Mallory Colter alleges that on multiple occasions and over lengthy periods, Schwabe installed a video-recording device in the washroom near the grocery store’s produce section and recorded women when they used the toilet and in various stages of undress.

The surreptitious recordings, taken between 2009 and 2014, were posted online on a revenge-porn website and paired with screenshots from the women’s Facebook pages so viewers could identify them.

The claim alleges that this is a grievous and ongoing breach of their privacy for which Schwabe is responsible.

The women became aware of the images when Saanich police contacted them in February 2016. Burke was shown facial images of six other women. She recognized five as Red Barn Market employees and one as Schwabe’s former roommate.

In June 2016, Saanich police told Colter that Schwabe had been arrested for voyeurism and publication of intimate images without consent. He was released and no charges have been laid.

In January 2018, Saanich police said nine victims had been identified.

“The matter is still under investigation and our detective office is still actively working on it,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie.

Affidavit evidence filed by the women suggest Schwabe made sexist remarks and inappropriate comments about women’s bodies in the workplace. Another former employee said he exposed himself to her during an early-morning shift.

The women say they have suffered psychological harm, including significant anxiety.

Schwabe has said the plaintiffs’ efforts to link him to the breach of privacy events “are speculative at best.” He conceded he had been arrested but has not been charged, said MacKenzie.

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Click here to read more stories from The Victoria Times Colonist.


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14Jan

‘Your country deserves much better’: B.C. judge warned Canadian sentenced to death in China

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A B.C. judge told Robert Lloyd Schellenberg he was lucky to be living in Canada when he sent him to jail for drug trafficking in 2012.

As the Abbotsford man faces the death penalty in China, Justice Neill Brown’s admonition now reads like a chilling warning.

“Your country deserves much better from you. You are in one of the best places in the world to live,” Brown said as he sentenced Schellenberg in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack. 

“You are not caught up in Libya or Syria; I do not have evidence of any abuse in your childhood and I accept that you have your own struggles to deal with, but you have to confront those. After all, it’s not as if you are 18, and having to storm Juno Beach.”

The journey that carried Schellenberg from that courtroom in the Lower Mainland’s Fraser Valley to the centre of an international story is detailed, in part, in court documents obtained by CBC News. 

The 36-year-old was sentenced to death Monday in the Dalian People’s Court in China’s northeast province of Liaoning.

The ruling came after a sudden retrial of a 15-year sentence for allegedly conspiring with others to smuggle 222 kilograms of methamphetamine from China to Australia in 2014.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is shown in Vancouver after her release on bail as she awaits extradition proceedings. Critics have suggested Schellenberg’s death sentence is part of China’s response to the Huawei case. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the sentence, which comes amid speculation Schellenberg is one of several Canadians whose fates are enmeshed in a battle between Canada and China over extradition proceedings for Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou currently underway in Vancouver.

Brown sentenced Schellenberg to two years in 2012 for possession of both cocaine and heroin for the purpose of trafficking as well as simple possession of cannabis resin and methamphetamine.

Because of time served, Schellenberg’s ultimate sentence was 16 months and 12 days.

‘Do not ever underestimate the seriousness’

Schellenberg pleaded guilty to all four counts, which came about as a result of an investigation into a high-volume drug sales operation that saw his apartment in Abbotsford used as a “distribution centre.”

According to the reasons for sentence, Schellenberg was on probation at the time that police raided his fourth-floor apartment, seizing $6,080 worth of cocaine and heroin as well as $3,205 in cash from pill profits.

The judge said Schellenberg was not considered to have been at the “lower rung” of the operation.

His criminal record dates back to February 2003, when he received a six-month sentence for possession for the purpose of trafficking.

In this image taken from a video footage run by China’s CCTV, Schellenberg listens as he is sentenced to death at the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in Dalian, northeastern China’s Liaoning province. (CCTV via Associated Press)

At the time Brown sent him to jail, Schellenberg was struggling with addiction.

“He had a work-related accident in which he injured his femur,” Brown said. “At the time of his arrest, indeed, he was wearing a cast, and apparently because of his injury, was abusing pain medications.”

The judge noted that Schellenberg’s father “had turned his back on him because of his criminal history although he still has the support of some family members.”

“You are fortunate that you have some family members supporting you,” the judge said. “Do not ever underestimate the seriousness of this kind of an offence.”

At the time of his sentencing in 2012, Schellenberg’s lawyer told the court he was “deeply ashamed, worried about his father and any embarrassment that he is experiencing in the community.”

‘I hope this is the last time’

Schellenberg’s parents could not be reached for comment Monday, but his aunt Lauri Nelson-Jones called the decision the family’s “worst-case fear confirmed.”

“Our thoughts are with Robert at this time. It is rather unimaginable what he must be feeling and thinking. It is a horrific, unfortunate, heartbreaking situation. We anxiously anticipate any news regarding an appeal.”

It is unclear what Schellenberg did between his relase from provincial jail, which was set for mid-2013 and his alleged involvement in the Chinese drug case. Some reports have suggested he worked in the Alberta oil patch.

According to the Chinese court, Schellenberg was part of a group that concealed 222 bags of methamphetamine in plastic pellets and shipped it from Guangdong to Dalian. He allegedly planned to conceal it in tires and tubing and ship it via container to Australia.

Chinese state television said in an earlier report that Schellenberg argued in court that he was a tourist visiting China and was framed by criminals. His lawyer told The Associated Press that he argued during the one-day trial that there was insufficient evidence for his client’s conviction.

Back in 2012, as Brown prepared to send Schellenberg off to jail, he told the drug dealer he was at a critical point in life.

“He has had his chances in the past. He is either going to cure himself of his addicton and reform himself and turn off the path that he has been on or he is not,” Brown said.

“Your basic task is to overcome your addition and reform your life. I hope this is the last time you appear in court.”


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