The Department of Justice isn’t commenting on a lawsuit filed against the province and related to a high-profile child abuse case.
Because it’s before the courts, the department won’t comment at this time, a spokesman said Thursday.
Three statements of claim were filed by Mount Pearl lawyer Geoff Budden Wednesday in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The provincial government is being sued for negligence in the horrific case that surfaced nine years ago and became the subject of a criminal conviction and a shocking report by the province’s child and youth advocate.
Budden is representing two Jane Does and a John Doe — now 21, 20 and 19 — who suffered abuse as children at the hands of their mother.
The siblings — who had been taken from the Clarke’s Beach woman in 1995, but returned to her custody a couple of years later — contend the abuse amounted to torture, and government officials failed in its child protection duties and ought to have known their negligence exposed the children to serious harm.
The statements of claim focus on severe physical and mental abuse they were victims of between 1997 and 2004, when all of the woman’s six children were removed from her care for good.
The allegations against the government have not been proven in court. But the involvement of social services and other officials in the family’s situation over the years was documented in media coverage of the criminal case and the advocate’s report.
The biological mother was sentenced in 2005 to several years’ federal time due to the criminal case.