Halifax Lawyer Raises Health Concerns for Client in Nova Scotia Justice Dept. Sexual Abuse Case

A Halifax lawyer, Devin Maxwell, expresses profound concern over the health and safety implications for his client due to the extensive questioning planned by provincial lawyers in a civil sexual abuse lawsuit against Nova Scotia’s Department of Justice. Maxwell’s client is suing the government for abuse by Cesar Lalo, known as one of Nova Scotia’s most egregious pedophiles. Lalo, a former probation officer, was implicated in numerous cases of child abuse, leading to multiple civil lawsuits against him and the province, even after his death in 2019.

Unprecedented Legal Battle

The legal fight against Nova Scotia’s Department of Justice is intensifying as the case approaches the discovery phase, where Maxwell’s client will undergo questioning by government lawyers for two days. This procedure is part of a series of lawsuits following landmark rulings that found the province vicariously liable for Lalo’s actions, resulting in significant damage awards. Despite Lalo’s death, the lawsuits continue, highlighting the long-lasting impact of his crimes.

Concerns Over the Discovery Process

Maxwell’s worries stem from the potential psychological impact this extensive questioning could have on his client, who has spent a lifetime trying to repress memories of the abuse. The decision to allocate two full days for questioning has raised alarms, not only for Maxwell but also for the victim’s counsellor, both of whom fear for the client’s well-being. Maxwell questions the necessity of such a prolonged process, especially given the province’s previous commitments to sensitivity towards abuse victims.

Response from the Justice Department

In response to Maxwell’s concerns, the Justice Department emphasized its commitment to treating every claim with sensitivity and respect, while also conducting the necessary fact-finding to review claims. They encouraged Maxwell to bring his concerns directly to the department’s legal services division. Despite the ongoing legal challenges, the exact number of active cases and settlements remains undisclosed by the department, citing potential influences on ongoing cases.

The legal struggle against Nova Scotia’s Department of Justice not only sheds light on the systemic issues within the justice system but also underscores the urgent need for a more compassionate approach towards victims of sexual abuse. As this case progresses, it serves as a stark reminder of the long-term effects of abuse and the complexities involved in seeking justice for those affected.


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