Editor’s note: The following report comes from someone who is not a lawyer, not familiar with legal terminology and will most likely change after written court documents with the correct terminology becomes available.
In a phone- in- session starting at 9:15 AM on Thursday, June 24, Justice Geoffrey Gaul dismissed BC Supreme Court case S15097, Anderson vs the SRD (Strathcona Regional District).
What Anderson vs the SRD was about
There was not any question about Regional Director Noba Anderson’s innocence in the suit that 14 Cortes residents brought against her in January 2019. A previous court found there was no basis for these allegations and it was dismissed.
This suit (Anderson vs the SRD) revolved around:
- the SRD’s decision to not pay Ms Andersons legal costs
- the SRD’s decision to censure Ms Anderson for showing her lawyer confidential SRD documents, while seeking his advice
- the question of court costs
Justice Gaul made it clear that his role was not to question the SRD’s decisions, but rather to determine whether the process by which they came to their conclusions was reasonable.
The burden of proof that the SRD’s process was not reasonable rested with Ms Anderson.
The decision to not pay her legal bills
According to the legal petition brought against her, “Anderson took money from her constituents for personal gain and a number of these constituents received gifts and grants in return.” By the time this case reached court, the lawyers from both sides agreed this allegation was without basis. (All 12 examples put forward by the petitioners were shown to be erroneous!)
Justice Gall agreed with the SRD, that this lawsuit was a personal matter and had nothing to do with Ms Anderson’s conduct as a Cortes Island‘s Regional Director.
He ruled that the process by which the SRD came to this conclusion was reasonable: they looked at the associated documents, discussed them etc.
While he agreed that Director Anderson had a right to consult with her lawyer, Justice Gaul said the documents she showed him belonged to the SRD Board.
Had Anderson asked the SRD’s permission and been refused, she could have appealed to the court. As she did not ask the SRD’s permission and took it upon herself to consult with a lawyer, Justice Gaul ruled the SRD Board was entirely within its rights to censure her.
Court costs were awarded to the SRD, which has until July 9th to submit a list.
Director Anderson’s lawyers have another week to reply.
It has not yet been determined whether Director Anderson will mount an appeal.
Links of Interest:
- Added June 1st – (Campbell River Mirror) B.C. Supreme Court sides with Strathcona Regional District in director lawsuit matter
- Added June 1st – (SRD) Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Strathcona Regional District
- (Cortes Currents) No conflict of Interest
- (Campbell River Mirror) Petitioners concede no conflict against Strathcona Regional District director
- (Cortes Currents) articles about, or mentioning the SRD censuring Director Anderson
- (Cortes Currents) articles about Noba Anderson vs SRD
- (Court filing) Application Response of SRD (Nov 16, 2020)
- (Court filing) SRD response to Anderson’s petition (Oct 21,2020)
- (Court filing) Director Anderson’s affidavit (Jul 13, 2020)
- (Court filing) Director Anderson’s petition to the court (Jul 13, 2020)
- (Cortes Currents) Regional Director Noba Anderson is suing the SRD
- (National Observer) report on this suit, reposted on Cortes Currents
- (Campbell River Mirror) Cortes Island Area Director Sues Strathcona Regional District
Top photo credit: Courtroom gavel by Joe Gratz via Flickr (Public Domain)
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