BELLEVILLE, ONT. - The Ontario government is no longer pursuing compensation of its court costs as it defends itself in a lawsuit by one of killer Russell Williams’ victims, QMI Agency has learned.
Laurie Massicotte, whom Williams pleaded guilty to attacking in her home in September 2009, and her three adult daughters are suing Williams, his wife and the province for a total of $7 million in damages.
Government lawyers on Monday filed an amended statement of defence updating a document filed exactly one month earlier in Belleville court.
The only change is in the statement’s final line.
“Ontario states that the claim as against it should be dismissed with costs,” the original version read.
But in the amended version, a single line strikes out the words “with costs,” deleting the clause. It is common for parties in lawsuits to seek court costs from one another.
Lawyers for the province did not return calls Friday, but a provincial spokesman said the province has changed its mind.
“The circumstances of this case have been taken into consideration and we have decided to not seek costs,” Brendan Crawley, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, wrote in an e-mail.
Williams has also filed a statement of defence in which he seeks costs from Massicotte — a point which recently sparked widespread media coverage and public outrage.
The case is one of four stemming from the criminal charges to which Williams, the former commander of CFB Trenton, pleaded guilty in October 2010. He is now serving concurrent life sentences for the killings of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 37, and Jessica Lloyd, 27, as well as attacks on Massicotte and another woman and a series of fetish thefts and break-ins.
There is no progress, however, in the other cases brought against Williams and his estranged wife, Mary Elizabeth Harriman and others.