An Edmonton man who killed a young boy when he drove into a restaurant patio is suing for $600,000 over alleged bad legal advice.

According to a June 30 statement of claim, Richard Suter is alleging he called Legal Aid after his arrest about whether or not to provide a breath sample to police and was provided “incorrect” advice.

Suter says he relied on the advice and it resulted in him being convicted of a criminal charge and claims that, if he had been given correct legal advice, he would not have been charged or convicted.

The lawsuit names as defendants the Legal Aid Society of Alberta, Fort McMurray lawyer Jason McKen and Victoria, B.C. lawyer Ronald Dumonceaux, who recruited and trained McKen.

Suter, 65, alleges that as a result of the defendant’s negligence, he and his wife Gayska had to spend $300,000 in legal fees, their character and reputation in the community were injured and they were held up to public scandal, ridicule and contempt.

As well, Suter alleges he had to serve a four-month jail sentence in a “hostile environment in which he feared for his life,” he lost his driver’s licence for five years and he and his wife have suffered acute depression and became estranged from their family and friends.

Statements of defence have not yet been filed. Statements of claim and defence contain unproven allegations.

Suter was given a four-month sentence on Dec. 17, 2015, after earlier pleading guilty to refusing to provide a breath sample where death ensued.

According to agreed facts, on May 19, 2013, Suter’s Acura SUV went over a curb, through a glass barrier and into the table where two-year-old Geo Mounsef was sitting with his parents and brother at Ric’s Grill, pinning Geo against a wall and causing his death.

Suter testified he was not impaired, but became distracted while arguing with his wife as he was parking, and “hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.”

Both the Crown and Suter have appealed the sentence although Suter has already served the time.

During Suter’s sentencing hearing, the lawyer who gave him advice testified he had basically told Suter not to blow and admitted he did not know the law had changed and did not realize there was such an offence as refusal following a death. The lawyer also testified that if he had known the law, he would have advised Suter differently.

Suter also had his thumb chopped off when he was abducted from his home by three men dressed like police who told him it was related to the patio killing. Steven Vollrath, 33, was found guilty June 8 of kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a dangerous weapon and impersonating police in connection with the Jan. 22, 2015, abduction. He is slated to be sentenced on Aug. 15.

Source: Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2016-08-06 | Link to this post