Family of teen stabbed to death near Kelvin High School suing school and the accused
Mother of Brett Bourne, killed after a fight at Kelvin High School in 2015, filed the claim Wednesday
The family of Brett Bourne, who was stabbed to death near Kelvin High School two years ago, has filed a lawsuit against the teen accused of killing him, the mother of the accused teen, the school and the Winnipeg School Division.
Bourne, 17, was fatally stabbed on June 2, 2015, after a fight on school property. The accused, who was charged with second-degree murder, cannot be named because he was under the age of 18 at the time.
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Jamie Bourne, Brett's mother, filed the claim on Wednesday on behalf of her son's estate.
The statement of claim says the school and the division failed to prevent the accused from bringing a knife to the school and failed to take reasonable steps to protect Bourne.
It also claims the school failed to address a known problem with drugs and violence and failed to adequately monitor security cameras or supervise the students on school grounds.
The claim also alleges the school failed to intervene after the initial fight and allowed the matter to escalate.
Bourne was not a student at Kelvin at the time of his death but was there as a visitor. He was involved in a confrontation during the noon hour with a 16-year-old boy from Kelvin. Police allege that when that incident ended and the 16-year-old was going back into the school, the accused— also a Kelvin student — attacked Bourne.
The statement of claim says the accused's actions that caused Bourne's death were "done willfully" and amount to "intentional infliction of harm, and/or wrongful death."
The statement also names the accused's mother.
None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court.
Victim was a 'trespasser': defence lawyer
The Winnipeg School Division would not comment on the lawsuit.
"Winnipeg School Division's deepest sympathies remain with Mrs. Bourne and her family. As Mrs. Bourne's statement of claim is currently before the courts, we will not be making any additional comments regarding this matter," the school division said in a written statement.
Gene Zazelenchuk, the lawyer for both the accused teen and the teen's mother, has said while he has not yet seen the final version of the statement of claim, he plans to defend his clients under a section of The Fatal Accidents Act that considers what role the deceased played in his own death.
"I anticipate filing a defence that it was the actions of the deceased which caused his death. It is my information that the deceased was not only a trespasser, he had been ordered to stay away from the school and he attended at the premises in order to commit an assault," said Zazelenchuk.
The lawsuit claims the accused's mother is also liable because she allegedly conspired with her son to conceal his participation in Bourne's death. Zazelenchuk says if there was any evidence of a conspiracy his client would likely not have been granted bail and released into his mother's custody.
"I find it very difficult to take this allegation seriously," he said.
Zazelenchuk says his client has never been charged in connection to Bourne's death.
Suit filed days before 2nd anniversary of death
Jamie Kagan, the lawyer for the Bourne family, says they are looking for answers as to how Brett died and why.
"The family would like, in part, to see a memorial scholarship set up in Brett's name," said Kagan in a statement to CBC.
"It is hoped the claim will also draw some attention to the monitoring of students in school to prevent a repeat of this type of violence from occurring during a school day again," he said.
The lawsuit was filed just days before the two-year anniversary of Bourne's death. Jamie Bourne says she plans to mark the day in private with her other son. They plan to spread some of Brett's ashes in one of his favourite childhood spots as well as plant a tree.
The family also hopes to one day pay for a headstone for Brett because they have not been able to afford one.
The criminal case against the accused has not yet gone to trial. The teen was released from custody in December 2015 after a responsible-person application was accepted.
Kagan says under The Fatal Accidents Act, a civil claim can only be filed within two years of the incident, and is separate from any criminal proceedings.