Statue of Lady Justice at Vancouver courthouse. (File photo: Black Press Media)

Statue of Lady Justice at Vancouver courthouse. (File photo: Black Press Media)

Tribunal awards Osoyoos couple $1,600 following neighbour dispute, assault

A separate criminal case is before the courts

After two years of dispute, the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal has given a little relief to an Osoyoos couple who claimed they faced racial abuse and violence which was caught on camera.

In a ruling issued on Feb. 22, the tribunal found that Michael Bahmutsky and Irina Bahmutsky were awarded $1,600 for some of their claims against Marian Griffiths and her adult son Morgan.

The two families live in the same townhouse complex, and the issues at the heart of the tribunal case began with an incident in March 2020, where Morgan allegedly physically and verbally assaulted Michael, which was caught on video.

A criminal charge of assault was filed against Morgan and is currently set to go before court in April.

This most recent decision follows two previous tribunal rulings on claims from both families, with the Bahmutskys’ adding claims of further strata bylaw breaches and harassment. Both of these previous sets of claims were dismissed, in part due to mistakes in filing by the Bahmutskys. Each of the families represented themselves at the tribunal.

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In the video, according to the published decision, Morgan is seen by the Bahmutskys’ surveillance camera repeatedly yelling obscenities, ethnic and other slurs at Michael while he was out jogging.

The video also provided evidence to the tribunal, that Morgan went beyond verbal abuse by poking Michael with a stick-like instrument, spitting on him and kicking him in the back.

“I find it was also reprehensible that Mr. Griffiths spat bodily fluids at Mr. Bahmutsky’s body as this happened during a pandemic from COVID-19. Mr. Griffiths had mentioned the pandemic in the video, so I find he was aware of it. I find Mr. Griffiths’ conduct was egregious and must be condemned,” reads the tribunal’s decision.

An unpublished decision in October had found the claims around the initial March 2020 incident had not been decided in either of the previous two tribunals, which allowed the claim to go forward under civil law instead of the originally filed strata property dispute.

The Bahmutskys were also seeking an injunction or restraining order, however, it was noted in the ruling that the tribunal does not have the authority to issue those under its small claims jurisdiction.

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