Federal government must search RCMP records for evidence of abuse at Bishop Horden
"If a child was abused and someone reported it to the police, of course documents were generated," lawyer says
A court ruling has compelled the federal government to search RCMP records for evidence of abuse at Bishop Horden Indian Residential School in Moose Factory, Ont.
The ruling comes after a group of former students asked an Ontario Superior Court to ensure the federal government was doing all that is required to search for and disclose evidence related to residential schools.
The nine former students involved in the case attended Bishop Horden residential school in Moose Factory, Ont. in the 1960s and say they suffered physical or sexual abuse.
"The finding that the federal officials have been in breach of their documentary disclosure obligations is very important to the clients I am representing," said lawyer Fay Brunning in an email.
"If a child was abused and someone reported it to the police, of course documents were generated."
The former students had claimed the federal government is obliged to provide information about the former residential school, the people that worked there and any charges or convictions on record.
In documents filed in court, the claimants said the government's disclosure did not mention what these former students say they witnessed: namely, that some of the supervisors at Bishop Horden were arrested by police and some supervisors were fired.
In a written ruling, Justice Paul Perell did not agree with the entire scope of disclosure requested by the claimants, but he did conclude the government was obligated to search RCMP records for evidence of an alleged assault in the girl's dormitory at Bishop Horden.
The claimants in the case have pursued claims through the independent assessment process, the system set up under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement for former students to seek compensation for abuse.
They were seeking further disclosure of documents to help support their claims.