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

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
NTC president calls for ‘massive change’ after Indigenous woman shot by police in Hitacu

“We need to get to the root of what is actually happening with the RCMP and our communities.”

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Most Read