British Columbia v Zastowny; 8 Feb 2008

References: [2008] 1 SCR 27, (2008), 290 DLR (4th) 21, [2008] 4 WWR 381, (2008) 76 BCLR (4th) 1
Links: Canlii
Coram: McLachlin CJ and Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein JJ
Canlii (Supreme Court of Canada) Damages – Past and future wage loss – Periods of incarceration – Plaintiff seeking damages for injuries suffered as consequence of sexual assaults – Whether plaintiff entitled to compensation for wage loss while he was incarcerated – Whether plaintiff can be compensated for time spent in prison after he became eligible for parole – Whether recovery for past wage loss while incarcerated barred by application of ex turpi causa non oritur actio doctrine or novus actus interveniens doctrine – Whether Court of Appeal erred in reducing award for loss of future earnings.
Canlii In 1988, Z was twice sexually assaulted by a prison official while imprisoned for a break and enter committed to support a crack cocaine addiction. After his release from prison, Z became addicted to heroin and a repeat offender. He was in prison for 12 of the next 15 years. In 2003, Z commenced an action seeking damages for the sexual assaults. A psychologist testified that the assaults caused Z to start using heroin and exacerbated his substance abuse and criminality. Z was awarded general and aggravated damages, the cost of future counselling, and compensation for past and future wage losses. The award for past wage losses included compensation for time spent in prison. The Court of Appeal reduced the award for past wage loss in order to compensate Z only for the time spent in prison after eligibility for parole and it reduced Z’s future wage loss by 30 percent to reflect his high risk of recidivism.
Held: The appeal should be allowed and the cross-appeal should be dismissed.
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Gray -v- Thames Trains and Others HL (Bailii, [2009] UKHL 33, Times, [2009] PIQR P22, (2009) 108 BMLR 205, [2009] 4 All ER 81, [2009] 3 WLR 167)
    The claimant had been severely injured in a rail crash caused by the defendant’s negligence. Under this condition, the claimant had gone on to kill another person, and he had been detained under section 41. He now sought damages for his loss of . .