Lawyer for Saint John in sexual predator case reminds court docket some key gamers are useless

The category-action lawsuit in opposition to the Metropolis of Saint John resumed Monday morning with opening remarks from Michael Brenton, the lawyer representing town.

He stated it was tough to give you a witness record for a 50-year-old case.

Brenton stated he would have appreciated to name the highest officers of the day to testify concerning the case, however they’re all deceased, together with former police chief Eric Ferguson, deputy chief Fenwick Ross and metropolis supervisor Nicholas Barfoot.

These have been the officers working in 1975 when former police sergeant Kenneth Estabrooks was transferred from the police division to town’s works division, the place he completed out his profession, retiring in 1983. On the time of the switch, Estabrooks admitted to a sexual relationship with two teenage boys.

With not one of the officers nonetheless alive to speak about police procedures that have been in place on the time, Brenton proposed to name the present chief of the Saint John Police Power, Robert Bruce. However that was met with objections from the lawyer for the plaintiffs, John McKiggan.

McKiggan identified that Bruce’s policing profession started seven years after Estabrooks was transferred out of the police division. Plus, Bruce labored in one other province for practically all of his policing profession, and for a provincial police pressure, not a municipal one.

“Nothing he can say can be related,” McKiggan advised the court docket.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer John McKiggan argued Monday that the present Saint John police chief has nothing related to supply the case, provided that he began his policing profession in Ontario seven years after Kenneth Estabrooks left the Saint John Police Power. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

Brenton stated there was nobody nonetheless round that he may name as a witness. He stated he wouldn’t ask Bruce “opinion” proof however would limit his inquiries to how police investigations are carried out.

McKiggan maintains that Bruce has no factual data about how police issues have been dealt with on the time, and his expertise “shouldn’t be related.”

Justice William Grant stated until Bruce can provide proof concerning the time frame on the coronary heart of the case, he would not see the relevance.

In the long run, Grant agreed to permit Brenton to “stand him down” till after the testimony of town’s second witness. Curt Griffiths, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser College in BC is scheduled to take the stand Tuesday morning.

Metropolis’s opening remarks

In his opening remarks, Brenton stated Estabrooks joined the Saint John Police Power in 1953 after town council voted on Feb. 28, 1953, to increase the pressure by 10 officers.

Brenton stated the proof clearly establishes that the police acquired no sexual assault allegations about Estabrooks whereas he was a police officer.

In 1975, a 15-year-old boy repeatedly known as the police station on the lookout for Estabrooks. He additionally confirmed up in particular person a number of occasions.

Though he did not make any complaints about Estabrooks, the incident raised sufficient curiosity that the pressure started an investigation.

The boy gave a press release to police detailing a sexual relationship with Estabrooks that had been happening for a number of weeks — in his police automobile and his personal automobile.

Nothing within the boy’s assertion indicated “that consent was missing,” Brenton stated.

The boy additionally talked about one other teenager’s identify. The police tracked down the 17-year-old. He advised them he and Estabrooks organized to satisfy up each couple of weeks. He additionally stated it was a consensual sexual relationship. Once more, there was no point out of abuse or pressure.

At the moment, Brenton stated, there was no proof that Estabrooks was a sexual predator.

Relationships deemed ‘consensual’

He stated a Crown prosecutor reviewed the file and decided that the sexual relationships have been consensual. On the time, the age of consent was 14, though the regulation has since modified. Which means the relationships weren’t thought of unlawful underneath the Legal Code on the time.

However, stated Brenton, Estabrooks did admit to having a sexual encounter in a police automobile, which was opposite to guidelines and rules of the pressure, and he agreed to resign. On the time, no motive was acknowledged.

Brenton stated the personnel data nonetheless exist, and if there had been a coverup, officers may have “gotten rid of them” a very long time in the past.

He additionally stated that earlier than New Brunswick’s Police Act got here into impact in 1977, forces weren’t vicariously chargeable for the wrongful acts of law enforcement officials. Part 17 of the act now makes them liable.

Brenton stated evolving selections about vicarious legal responsibility aren’t retroactive and so present legal guidelines would not change the accountability on municipalities earlier than the modifications have been made.

Saint John Police Chief Robert Bruce leaves the courthouse Monday morning after being stood down as a witness for town in a class-action lawsuit. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

The category-action lawsuit focuses on town’s fiduciary responsibility to guard the general public between 1975 — when Estabrooks admitted having sexual relations with teenaged boys — and 1983, when he retired.

Brenton stated the relations weren’t Opposite to the Legal Code of the day. He additionally stated the pressure was not conscious — at the moment — of allegations involving youthful kids.

Brenton additionally identified that between 1975 and 1983, Estabrooks labored in a closed store with no entry to the general public. He stated the one ones inside have been staff, and all staff have been adults. He stated that meant the store wouldn’t have created a threat of sexual assault, since grownup males would not have been seen as weak victims.

By the Nineteen Nineties, allegations surfaced that Estabrooks had been sexually assaulting kids starting when he was a police officer.

In 1999, he was convicted on 4 fees of indecent assault involving three boys and a woman through the years he labored for town. He was sentenced to 6 years in jail.

Estabrooks died in 2005.

Bobby Hayes says he was about ten or 11 years outdated when the abuse started. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

The category-action lawsuit, now being heard in Saint John, has been within the working its manner via the court docket system, together with to the nation’s prime court docket.

5 males ranging in age from 58 to 66 have now described to the court docket how Estabrooks preyed upon them after they have been kids. The one one that may be named is the consultant plaintiff, Bobby Hayes.

Hayes stated he was first sexually assaulted by Estabrooks in 1970 as a 10-year-old and lots of different occasions over the subsequent three or 4 years.

Hayes additionally alleged he was sexually assaulted once more by Estabrooks as a younger man, after they have been each employed by town works division, and that supervisors merely suggested him to “transfer quicker” to keep away from being assaulted.

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