Supreme Canada quashes Saint John bid to appeal class action lawsuit in Ken Estabrooks case

Supreme Canada quashes Saint John bid to appeal class action lawsuit in Ken Estabrooks case
Canada’s top court has ruled it will not hear arguments from the City of Saint John against a class action lawsuit in relation to allegations of sexual abuse against a now deceased former city police officer.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada denied the city’s application for leave to appeal the class action, which was initially certified in the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench in 2017 and upheld by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in 2018.

Bobby Hayes, a former city employee, is the main plaintiff in the suit. He says he was among Ken Estabrooks’ victims and says justice may be coming but there will be no winners in the end.

“Look at the victims,” said Hayes. “Look at the impact of their lives and the destruction that you’ve done to a community.”

Estabrooks was sentenced to six years in prison in 1999 on four counts of indecent assault. He died in 2005. In 2013, investigators determined more than 200 youths may have suffered abuse at his hands.

The lawyer heading the multi-million dollar class action believes the city should be responsible for Estabrooks’ actions both while he was a police officer and after 1975 when he admitted what he was doing.

“The city knew what he was doing, but rather than fire him or charge him they simply moved him to a different department,” said John McKiggan in Halifax. “They moved him into city works where he continued to assault children.”

In a statement, the city acknowledged the top court’s ruling and said the plaintiff’s motion before the Court of Queen’s Bench “at present, marks the next procedural steps in this matter.”

Both Hayes and his lawyer hope a settlement can be reached to avoid rehashing disturbing events in a courtroom beginning in early November.

“We think it would be humane and more appropriate for the city to try to find a way to resolve these claims,” said McKiggan.

“This is bad,” added Hayes. This isn’t just a rape, this is (a) really sadistic man and a monster that was allowed ah prey on children in our communities.”
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