B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey hatchet attack victim wins court case against B.C. government

Michael Levy was left quadriplegic at age 18 after being attacked with a hatchet at a Halloween dance at Tynehead Hall in 2006

A Surrey man left quadriplegic at age 18 after being attacked with a hatchet at a Halloween dance at Tynehead Hall in 2006 has won his case in court against the provincial government for breach of contract concerning his care.

Levy sued his attackers and others whose negligence, he claimed, contributed to his injuries and settled with the defendants in 2009 for $2.1 million. In 2018 the court gave Levy the green light to pursue a lawsuit against the Crime Victim Assistance Program, which has supported him since 2006.

Levy sued the CVAP for breach of the settlement agreement, claiming it refused to pay for the care to which he’s entitled to under the Crime Victim Assistance Act. After the province unsuccessfully appealed to B.C. Supreme Court to have the lawsuit stopped, before Justice Christopher Grauer, it took the matter to the court of appeal.

In this latest round in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, conducted over the telephone in November with Justice Elaine Adair presiding, the province claimed it has no liability to Levy and denied the director of the program was party to the contract Levy’s counsel argued had been breached.

Levy’s counsel argued that the defendants in the settlement will pay CVAP $312,000 for money spent on Levy’s care and that the CVAP agreed to fund his care “without seeking repayment over and above that figure that was paid for support to the date of the settlement in 2009,” the judge noted.

“The Province argues that the plaintiff has sought to justify his conduct based on legal advice he received, and therefore implicitly waived privilege. I do not agree,” Adair stated in her reasons for judgment.

Surrey teenager Enrique Quintana was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2008 for attacking Levy with a hatchet, severing his spinal cord and rendering him quadriplegic for life. Quintana was found guilty of aggravated assault for the unprovoked attack. Counting time served, he spent eight years and three months in jail. He was 17 when he chopped Levy three times with a hatchet at the dance, for no apparent reason.

READ ALSO: Surrey hatchet attack victim can pursue lawsuit, appeal court decides

Quintana, 17 at the time of the attack, faced a maximum of two years in jail had he been sentenced as a youth. But Surrey provincial court Judge Kenneth Ball instead delivered an adult sentence – and one stiffer than the five-to-six year prison term the Crown prosecutor had argued for – considering the “horrendous” nature of the assault.

After chopping him three times with the hatchet, Quintana kicked the already paralyzed Levy when he was down on the floor, much of it stained with his blood.

Quintana and two other youths attacked the young man for no good reason while he was dancing at the party. They didn’t even know Levy, who had been planning to enroll in the armed forces. Tuan Minh Nguyen and Robert Alexander Green were sentenced to 20 months house arrest and two years less a day, respectively, but after Nguyen’s sentence was appealed by the Crown the appeal court ordered him to serve 514 days in an open custody youth facility.

Levy’s case against the Director of Crime Victim Assistance Program and the provincial government was heard by B.C.’s Court of Appeal in Vancouver in 2018. In those proceedings, Justice John Savage noted that the provincial government’s argument was that Levy was “attempting to use artful pleadings as a thin pretence to establish a private wrong in order to launch a collateral attack on administrative decisions, and therefore his claim should be struck as an abuse of process.”

But Savage, stating he was “not persuaded that there was any error of law made by the judge,” dismissed the government’s appeal and found “there is at least an arguable case that Mr. Levy’s civil action is with merit.

Justices Peter Willcock and John Hunter concurred with Savage’s finding.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

CourtSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is offering home compost bins at reduced prices until March 25. (Contributed)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen offers compost bins at wholesale costs

Pricing offer at participating stores in place until March 25

Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Premier touches on protest, housing controversy in Penticton

Protesters have said they plan to go on despite police warning

Penticton’s Law Courts.	(File)
Penticton beach attacker to serve two more years behind bars

Thomas Kruger-Allen was sentenced in a Penticton court on Friday

About 50 people gathered Friday, March 5, 2021 in Penticton to protest city council’s decision to close a temporary winter shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)
WATCH: Protest over Penticton shelter draws large crowd

People are gathering in Gyro Park to protest the closure of a winter shelter

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Paramjit Bogarh, connected to the murder of his wife in Vernon 35 years ago, has been relerased on full parole, one year after he was sentenced to five years in prison for accessory after the fact. (Contributed)
Full parole for ex-Okanagan man who helped wife’s alleged killer escape

Paramjit Bogarh pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after helping brother flee Canada

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, normally held in August, was denied a grant due to COVID. (File photo)
COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read