A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the 13 victims of a disgraced Anglican priest has failed to be certified. The priest, Gordon Dominey, was accused of 33 counts of sexual assault against 13 different teens during the time he was an Anglican priest.
The class-action lawsuit attempted to hold the Anglican Synod of the Diocese of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta liable for failing to protect the teens. They filed the lawsuit as a class action so that all of the victims could access justice in an easier manner.
The Alberta Queen’s Bench rejected the certification application, as the Justice found that it would be better if each victim sued individually. This determination of the best avenue for justice is one of the predominant decisions made at a certification hearing.
However, the individual who started the class action now worries that some of the victims, in particular those from a lower socioeconomic status, may face difficulties reaching justice. On the contrary, the Justice decided that individual actions will allow the court to focus on issues that affect the individual claimant and therefore can proceed in a much quicker manner. The Justice further stated that differing individual experiences in relation to the abuse would likely mean that the class action would end up looking like individual trials for each victim anyways. Even with this, the decision has been a difficult one for those victims who may not have the resources or may not want to go through the mental difficulties of an individual trial.