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BC Thumbs Nose at Parents of Dead Child

March 26, 2008 permalink

Reena Virk envied the freedom of foster children and made up false accusations to get herself into foster care. The group of "friends" she met in foster care killed her in 1997. In 1999 the parents filed suit against the Province of British Columbia over their daughter's death. Now the courts have ruled that the delays in the litigation are reason to deny the family compensation.



Judge dismisses Virk family lawsuit


The Canadian Press

March 26, 2008 at 6:31 PM EDT

VICTORIA — A B.C. Supreme Court justice has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the parents of Reena Virk against the B.C. government, saying the family waited too long to bring their matter to trial.

Justice Jacqueline Dorgan acknowledged the widespread sympathy for the family whose 14-year-old daughter was beaten and drowned in a horrific incident of teen violence.

But Judge Dorgan said letting the civil case go ahead now would be unfair.

Six teenaged girls were convicted of assault and Warren Glowatski and Kelly Ellard were convicted of second-degree murder in Reena Virk's 1997 death.

Ms. Ellard has gone through three trials and will appeal her latest conviction in the case in May.

In the lawsuit, the Virk family alleged the B.C. government didn't protect their daughter while she was in government care.

“Every person in this courtroom and many in the community have so much sympathy for the plaintiffs and their loss,” said Judge Dorgan.

“(But) a fair (civil) trial has simply been very seriously compromised. The interests of justice have best been served by a dismissal.”

Judge Dorgan said the Virks initially filed a lawsuit writ in November 1999, two years after their daughter's death.

But almost a decade after the original lawsuit was filed, the government was still waiting for information on how the Virks intended to proceed.

“It is a long way from being ready for trial,” she said. “Two trial dates have been set and lost.”

Manjit Virk, Reena's father, said outside court Wednesday the family never intentionally delayed taking the matter to court and was simply waiting for Ms. Ellard's trials to end.

“We were under the impression, I guess by the counsel, that while the criminal trials are going on, your other civil suit cannot be really brought forward successfully,” he said.

“First they have to be dealt with and then we can focus on this.”

Mr. Virk said he will consult with his lawyer and his family before deciding whether or not to appeal the decision.

He said the family was primarily seeking an apology from the government.

Mr. Virk's lawyer, Roger Batchelor said the family was prepared to settle out of court.

Last year, B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal paid tribute to Reena's parents on the 10th anniversary of their daughter's death.

Mr. Oppal said Ms. Virk's parents, Suman and Manjit, have shown great courage throughout the ordeal and by forgiving one of the killers, Mr. Glowatski, when he was granted day parole last June.

“I don't know of many people that would have had that type of a response. I don't think I would have had if the same would have happened to one of my children,” Mr. Oppal said at the time.

Reena's death drew attention from around the world.

15:31ET 26-03-08

Source: Globe and Mail
pointed out by Karol Karolak