The suspect in Toronto's fatal Eaton Centre shooting from 2012 should have been under closer supervision when was out on bail at the time of the shooting, the families of two victims allege in multimillion dollar civil lawsuits.
The victim's families are suing the alleged shooter, his sureties, the owner and operator of the mall, the province and the police boards in Toronto and Hamilton.
The suits focus on Christopher Husbands, set to stand trial for the shootings later this year, as well as agencies that allegedly failed to stop him from shooting.
The lawsuits lay out a timeline related to the charges implicating the Hamilton and Toronto police services.
In March 2010, two years before the Eaton Centre shooting, Husbands had been charged in Hamilton with nine gun-related offences, as well as failing to meet bail conditions, obstructing a police officer and a marijuana possession charge, according to the lawsuits. Husbands was released on bail in May 2010 with two sureties, according to the suits.
In November 2010, Husbands was also charged in Toronto court and in December granted bail on a sexual assault charge, according to the lawsuits.
In April 2012, Husbands was assaulted by “unknown persons” whom he believed included Ahmed Hassan and Nixon Nirmalendran, according to the suits.
When Husbands appeared back in Hamilton court on the Hamilton charges in April 2012, the Crown withdrew the gun charges and Husbands was convicted on the rest — two counts of breaching bail, obstructing a police officer and marijuana possession, according to the lawsuits.
Then in June 2012, in breach of bail conditions, Husbands shot Hassan and Nirmalendran in the food court of the Eaton Centre, the lawsuit alleges. Both men died.
The Hamilton charges – and Husbands’ previous convictions for breaching bail — weren’t disseminated or taken into account when the Toronto courts granted Husbands bail in 2010, the lawsuit alleges. The suit also charges that the police and courts didn’t properly supervise Husbands on his bail conditions, “when they knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the failure to do so could cause harm to the public," including Hassan and Nirmalendran, the suits say.
Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, Hamilton Police Services Board chair, said the board declines to comments on matters to be heard in court.
“While civil lawsuits are primarily about compensation, these cases also raise important issues about accountability for those responsible in allowing Christopher Husbands to be at the Eaton Centre on June 2, 2012 when, as it has been alleged, he was under house arrest at the time,” Pinta McGuire of Bogoroch and Associates told the Toronto Star. That firm is representing the victims' families on these suits.