The Decision:  Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex v. C.D.B., 2014 ONSC 1414 (CanLII)



Quote:  [335] I find that L.D.B. misrepresented herself as a victim of domestic violence to such a degree that this drove this case to the extreme that it became. This was exacerbated by the actions of the Society, some police officers, some women's groups, a school board and her employers in Windsor, many of whom accepted without any level of scrutiny the self-reports of L.D.B..



When properly cross examined... The common truism emerged.

[336] When scrutinized, a very different picture emerged at this trial. L.D.B. claimed that she was so fearful of C.D.B., due to his emotional abuse and controlling and coercive conduct, that she often just went along with things no matter how unreasonable. The audio recordings are one piece of evidence that show her to be the exact opposite of fearful. Someone who is fearful would not scream at the person she is allegedly fearful of to "shut the fuck up" multiple times.

[337] L.D.B. portrayed herself as a helpless victim of C.D.B., who controlled her every move. This victim representation by her was in stark contrast to the multiple credible witnesses I alluded to earlier who described the relationship of C.D.B. and L.D.B. to be loving, caring and devoted to each other and their children, even to the point of them being considered as models to look up to.

[338] L.D.B. worked, had her own credit cards and had unrestricted access to bank accounts. She went out with her friends at her choosing to socialize, shop and work out at the gym. I find her description of her stifling life of control to be a serious misrepresentation of the facts. However, the Society did not talk to the witnesses that came before this court and described this loving, caring family. It did not listen to the children, MDB and RB, who wanted to express their fears and turmoil to it. Instead, they accepted L.D.B. at face value and led the charge with resolute determination.

Quote:[354] The omitted disclosure reveals constant meetings and emails that included Lisa Walters, Barbara Hoover, Ms. Upton, Ms. Schiedel and her manager, Meg Lewis. I was astounded to learn in the previously held back disclosure that there were "safety planning meetings" to discuss strategies to protect the mother and any Society worker who felt they needed protection from the father. Until the day 130 of the trial, I was not aware that it was even a consideration that any worker who testified for the Society might have been testifying under the fear that the father in the case might do them harm. When I pointed out to the supervisor that it was an essential piece of information for the trial judge to have, she did not even comprehend why that might be so. The safety plan that the Society was contemplating with the police included the possibility that, if a worker felt fearful, they could contact the police and have their home flagged as "Priority Domestic Violence." That would result in a heightened response by the police. A final meeting to implement this "safety plan" apparently did not happen. No police officer was called to testify about any of this. Had Mr. Hassan not summoned Ms. Schiedel and cross-examined her as he did, the court would not be aware of this feature of fear that permeated amongst the professionals.



Quote:[24] I find that L.D.B. set the stage for this litigation marathon by bringing false claims to the Society, the police and many other professionals. She continued to advance those false claims for the three year period this matter was before the court in pre-trial and trial. However, the Children’s Aid Society is the one who had the statutory duty to investigate these claims in a thorough, objective and professional manner and they did not do so. Instead of adjusting and reassessing their position from time to time, when the situation warranted, they became the lead advocate for the mother. Their counsel, at this trial, took the lead for most of the cross-examinations and legal arguments throughout this trial. When the child MDB was about to be cross-examined, I asked counsel to make submissions on the extent to which the Society could cross examine a child who was the very subject of their own protection application. Not surprisingly, there were no cases on the subject. I instructed counsel that I would keep a tight rein on the manner in which the cross-examination was conducted.

Quote: [51] I found that the mother created this marathon litigation by her false allegations. However, the greater cause of this extraordinary litigation I assign to the Society for their failure to investigate objectively, taking a biased position throughout, and failing to reassess and adjust their position as they had a duty to do when faced with information that did not support their original position.


[53] In this case I have found that the Society drove this litigation on behalf of the mother. They are the ones with the statutory duty to investigate in an objective and professional manner, provide services, and adjust and reassess their case as circumstances warranted. They failed to fulfill all of these very important legal duties. In addition, the Society never amended their pleadings or plan of care. They proceeded to the end of this 154 day trial asking the court to find that the father was a coercive, controlling, abusive person who should not only be feared but should have restricted involvement with his youngest son unless and until he received successful counselling for his severe limitations. I found that the evidence did not support the Society’s position and that [COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"]they acted in bad faith in the conduct of this litigation[/COLOR].


Which reasonably lead to this final order on costs in the matter:


[87] The Society shall pay 70 percent of the above noted costs: $1,410,449.50.

[88] L.D.B. shall pay 30 percent of the above noted costs: $604,478.36.


had removed 475 pages of notes, records, summaries and emails from the file. (This, by the way, is a criminal offence, although to my knowledge the supervisor has not been charged.)