B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey hatchet attack victim wins court case against B.C. government

Michael Levy was left quadriplegic at age 18 after being attacked with a hatchet at a Halloween dance at Tynehead Hall in 2006

A Surrey man left quadriplegic at age 18 after being attacked with a hatchet at a Halloween dance at Tynehead Hall in 2006 has won his case in court against the provincial government for breach of contract concerning his care.

Levy sued his attackers and others whose negligence, he claimed, contributed to his injuries and settled with the defendants in 2009 for $2.1 million. In 2018 the court gave Levy the green light to pursue a lawsuit against the Crime Victim Assistance Program, which has supported him since 2006.

Levy sued the CVAP for breach of the settlement agreement, claiming it refused to pay for the care to which he’s entitled to under the Crime Victim Assistance Act. After the province unsuccessfully appealed to B.C. Supreme Court to have the lawsuit stopped, before Justice Christopher Grauer, it took the matter to the court of appeal.

In this latest round in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, conducted over the telephone in November with Justice Elaine Adair presiding, the province claimed it has no liability to Levy and denied the director of the program was party to the contract Levy’s counsel argued had been breached.

Levy’s counsel argued that the defendants in the settlement will pay CVAP $312,000 for money spent on Levy’s care and that the CVAP agreed to fund his care “without seeking repayment over and above that figure that was paid for support to the date of the settlement in 2009,” the judge noted.

“The Province argues that the plaintiff has sought to justify his conduct based on legal advice he received, and therefore implicitly waived privilege. I do not agree,” Adair stated in her reasons for judgment.

Surrey teenager Enrique Quintana was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2008 for attacking Levy with a hatchet, severing his spinal cord and rendering him quadriplegic for life. Quintana was found guilty of aggravated assault for the unprovoked attack. Counting time served, he spent eight years and three months in jail. He was 17 when he chopped Levy three times with a hatchet at the dance, for no apparent reason.

READ ALSO: Surrey hatchet attack victim can pursue lawsuit, appeal court decides

Quintana, 17 at the time of the attack, faced a maximum of two years in jail had he been sentenced as a youth. But Surrey provincial court Judge Kenneth Ball instead delivered an adult sentence – and one stiffer than the five-to-six year prison term the Crown prosecutor had argued for – considering the “horrendous” nature of the assault.

After chopping him three times with the hatchet, Quintana kicked the already paralyzed Levy when he was down on the floor, much of it stained with his blood.

Quintana and two other youths attacked the young man for no good reason while he was dancing at the party. They didn’t even know Levy, who had been planning to enroll in the armed forces. Tuan Minh Nguyen and Robert Alexander Green were sentenced to 20 months house arrest and two years less a day, respectively, but after Nguyen’s sentence was appealed by the Crown the appeal court ordered him to serve 514 days in an open custody youth facility.

Levy’s case against the Director of Crime Victim Assistance Program and the provincial government was heard by B.C.’s Court of Appeal in Vancouver in 2018. In those proceedings, Justice John Savage noted that the provincial government’s argument was that Levy was “attempting to use artful pleadings as a thin pretence to establish a private wrong in order to launch a collateral attack on administrative decisions, and therefore his claim should be struck as an abuse of process.”

But Savage, stating he was “not persuaded that there was any error of law made by the judge,” dismissed the government’s appeal and found “there is at least an arguable case that Mr. Levy’s civil action is with merit.

Justices Peter Willcock and John Hunter concurred with Savage’s finding.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

CourtSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

(File - Sooke News Mirror)
Man exposes himself to woman, children on Sooke trail

Suspect believed to be between 55 and 65 years of age

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open to Jan. 15

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read