British Columbia

Parents of murder victim still seeking justice 8 years later

Eight years after their daughter Lisa Dudley was killed, Mark and Rosemarie Surakka are trying to raise money through a crowdfunding campaign to help with the costs of suing the federal and provincial governments.

Neighbour heard gunshots and called police, but the officer didn't get out of his car to investigate

Mark and Rosemarie Surakka have launched a crowdfunding page to pay for their legal fight. (CBC)

Lisa Dudley's parents Mark and Rosemarie Surakka are trying to raise money through a crowdfunding campaign to help with the costs of suing the federal and provincial governments.

It's been eight years since their daughter was killed.

Dudley, 37, and her partner, Guthrie McKay, 33, were shot September 18, 2008 in the living room of her home in Mission.

A neighbour heard gunshots and called police, but the officer didn't get out of his car to investigate or contact the person who dialled 911.

McKay died immediately but Dudley sat paralyzed in a chair for days before a neighbour finally found her.

"The authorities failed to respond in the proper and correct fashion and she was left to die for four days," Mark Surakka said.

Dudley died of cardiac arrest shortly after she was found.

The Surakkas have tried to sue the RCMP on Dudley's behalf but they've run into a strange legal roadblock.

Legal challenge

The Surakkas allege the provincial and federal governments — in their responsibility for the RCMP — failed to uphold Dudley's rights under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

Lawyers for the federal and provincial governments have taken the position that Dudley's parents cannot sue on her behalf because she lost her Charter rights when she died.

"The horror of this is that even after her death, government lawyers still argue Lisa's rights extinguished upon her last breath," Mark Surakka said.

"What we're trying to do is go to the Supreme Court to say that Lisa's rights were denied under the [Charter of Rights and Freedoms]."

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in the Surakkas favour, but government government lawyers appealed the decision.

The Surakkas want to fight the case at the Supreme Court of Canada but they can't afford to, so they've launched a crowdfunding page to cover their legal bills.

Rosemarie Surakka says all of the money raised from the website will go to their legal fight and they will not keep any of the proceeds for themselves.

"We didn't think that it was going to be a David and Goliath scenario, where a couple of citizens were going up against the Government of Canada but that's what it's been," she said.

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