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High costs sink ferry trial

Two Penticton teens whose father was killed when the Queen of the North sank in 2006 will likely never know what happened to him because they settled their lawsuit to avoid exorbitant trial fees.

Two Penticton teens whose father was killed when the Queen of the North sank in 2006 will likely never know what happened to him because they settled their lawsuit to avoid exorbitant trial fees.

The Queen of the North trial, scheduled to begin Monday, will not proceed, said Peter Ritchie, lawyer for Gerald Foisy’s daughters Brittni, 19 and Morgan, 15.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.

Among the trial costs are: $15,000 in hearing fees; $25,000 for a jury; and $15,000 to $20,000 to bring 14 witnesses to Vancouver for the trial.

“My deep concern,” said Ritchie, “is that when you live in a province where you’re not rich enough to go the courthouse, you’re not going to come anywhere close to what we call justice.”

Ritchie said it would cost the teens $55,000 to $60,000 for a jury trial. In Alberta, trial fees would be $800.

In a statement, Ritchie suggested the B.C. government expected the girls to pay for the trial with babysitting money or through a bake sale at their high school.

Two inquiries, one by B.C. Ferries and one by the Transportation Safety Board, have been completed, but do not explain what happened to Foisy, nor fully what happened during the 14 minutes before the vessel crashed into Gil Island.

A trial would answer those questions, Ritchie said.

NDP Ferry critic Gary Coons said the province needs to call a judicial or public inquiry into the crash.

 
 
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