Vancouver’s Downtown Ambassadors scored a victory in their legal battles Thursday.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that Charles Gauthier, executive director of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA), did not breach a confidentiality agreement or the rules of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in speaking to the media about the Downtown Ambassadors hearing.
The plaintiffs, Pivot Legal Society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) brought the allegations before the province’s highest court in November 2009.
The judge ordered Pivot Legal Society to pay many of the DVBIA’s legal fees incurred while disputing the accusations. He also rescinded a prior award of $2,000 in the plaintiffs’ favour.
“We think it’s a terrible ruling (that the B.C. Supreme Court made), and we hope our lawyers will appeal it,” said VANDU staff member Aiyanas Ormond.
On the other hand, Ormond added that he’s satisfied with the human rights tribunal process, and the discussion it has encouraged among VANDU members and Vancouver’s marginalized citizens.
“We’re elated with the decision,” said Gauthier, who added that he had received many well-wishes from his organization’s membership.
While Gauthier said he believes the human rights hearing will extend beyond this month, he is pleased that the Ambassadors now have the opportunity to present their side of the story.