A man who violently assaulted his ex-wife for three days eight years ago will have to pay her nearly $ 200,000, the court of appeal recently ruled.
“It’s easy to give up and give up the process because it’s very heavy and it lasts a very long time […] but fight until the end, ”invites Monica, who has asked that her last name be kept silent in order to preserve a bit of anonymity.
Since 2012, the 40-year-old Montrealer has been fighting in court for justice. Her ex-husband Craig O’Brien was sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to forcible confinement, physical assault and aggravated assault in 2015.
However, this sentence seemed insufficient for the victim, who decided to sue his torturer in civil proceedings for the consequences that still persist today.
In review of a first judgment, the Court of Appeal reduced the amount awarded to Monica, but still ruled: O’Brien will have to pay $ 199,942.45, including $ 25,000 in punitive damages, for the abuse that he subjected to his victim.
Open the way
Although satisfied with the decision, the 40-year-old sighs at the end of the line, breathless at having to fight in a justice system that she considers unsuitable for the victims.
“Now the judgment must be executed,” she blurted out, convinced that she still has battles to fight. Despite everything, she encourages other victims to take action and denounce.
“The next victims of domestic violence will have a judgment on which to base themselves, on which to lean. We must not despair because it takes a long time, ”she insists.
This judgment is a “think about it” for those who would be tempted to raise a hand on their partner, considers for her the retired judge Nicole Gibeault.
“I think that will also send a message to the attackers […] It’s not just the criminal that they can be picked up [pour leurs gestes]. Eight months in prison and an additional $ 200,000 to pay? Well yes, it could be, ”she illustrates.
“The legal system recognizes the negative impacts of domestic violence, and for them, there is grounds for compensation”, rejoices Manon Monastesse, CEO of the Federation of shelters.
However, she does not expect tons of victims to take this route, since many do not have the means or prefer to move on.
This judgment is timely, believes for its part the lawyer of Monica, who is worried about the victims for whom the sanitary measures complicate the proceedings.
“We get phone calls [de victimes] that ask us not to call them back or send them an email […] There are some who are looking for a way out, but who cannot because they are being watched, ”laments Me Daniel Romano.
“We hope that this judgment will give a little hope to the victims and push back those who could commit domestic violence, especially these days [avec le confinement]. “
– Daniel Romano, lawyer for Monica
“There is not a court that takes it lightly when a spouse in matters of domestic violence demonstrates that there is a fault committed, because there is no one who deserves to to be beaten or abused […] It is a good example to give. “
– Nicole Gibeault, retired judge
“At the same time, it is important that there is a public compensation scheme for victims because some of them live with consequences for very long years. […] and it is not within everyone’s reach a civil suit. “
– Louise Riendeau, Regroupement of houses for women victims of conjugal violence
“I also hope that the judgment will discourage [des agresseurs] to use violence and find other ways to deal with their emotions. “
– Monica, victim