Judge awards Toronto singer $105K in sex assault lawsuit
Jade Naraine filed lawsuit after Toronto police closed her case
UPDATE: On Aug. 27, 2018, a judge with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice set aside the default judgment in this case. The judge wrote in a legal document obtained by CBC Toronto that the defendant in the case filed a statement of defence but used the wrong form. The defendant also started a motion to set aside the default judgment before the decision was granted, the judge wrote, adding "justice requires that both sides be heard." Naraine is appealing the judge's decision.
A Toronto singer says she has found closure after successfully suing a man she says raped her a year and a half ago after police decided not to press charges.
"As he was reading his decision, I broke down in tears because it meant so much to me that a judge would actually acknowledge [the sex assault] had happened," said Jade Naraine.
I wanted my perpetrator to take responsibility for what he had done.- Jade Naraine
In April, Naraine told CBC Toronto she reported the alleged sexual assault to Toronto police, who eventually closed the case. She then tried to press charges on her own through a private prosecution, but was told the Crown did not find her to be a reliable witness.
So, Naraine launched a lawsuit in January 2018 stating the alleged offender, a person she knew, caused her "emotional distress" and "severe mental anguish" as a result of the alleged sex assault, according to her statement of claim.
Naraine said she sued, representing herself, to get "some kind of closure," not for the money.
"I wanted my perpetrator to take responsibility for what he had done," she said. "I wanted to move on with my life and this provided that for me."
The alleged attacker did not file a defence and did not show up to the hearing. So, the judge awarded Naraine $105,000 in a default judgment:
- Pain and suffering: $50,000.
- Loss of future income: $45,000.
- Punitive damages: $10,000.
"I would never make anything like this up," she said. "It hurt me a lot when the Crowns and police were questioning my credibility. [The judge's decision] has only highlighted the police made a mistake by not putting my sex assault case through and giving me a chance to go in front of a judge in the first place."
Deb Singh, a counsellor and activist with the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape, says most survivors don't take Naraine's route.
"To represent yourself is pretty courageous and challenging," she said, though she points out the legal system is not set up to support survivors.
Not believing survivors
"They have to constantly prove or work to make the system work for them or prove they're believable, whereas the alleged perpetrators can sit back and say nothing and do nothing," she said.
"This is endemic of the culture of people at the highest levels who have the opportunity to provide justice to survivors not believing survivors."
Naraine filed a lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service and a judicial review against the Crown. The Crown said it would not be appropriate to comment on the judicial review as the hearing is scheduled for October.
In April, police told CBC Toronto they "will challenge everything she has claimed and will respond extremely vigorously."
Naraine also filed complaints with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), but it closed the cases for various reasons.
OIPRD said one of Naraine's complaints was not "in the public interest to send the matter for investigation."
Even though Naraine calls the judge's ruling in her lawsuit a victory, she admits she still has nightmares.
"It's going to take a long time to go away," she said.