Government officials 'failed miserably' to protect child beaten by mother, says lawyer

Government officials 'failed miserably' to protect child beaten by mother, says lawyer

 A St. John's man says he was brutally beaten by his mother for years — sometimes with a broomstick — and authorities who knew about her violent history failed to protect him.

"He was beaten by his mother. Unlawfully confined by her, forced to watch as his siblings were unlawfully confined and also forced to tape up his siblings as part of their unlawful confinement," said his lawyer Lynn Moore.

"This happened from the time he was born until he was apprehended at age seven."

The 20-year-old, using the name John Doe, has filed a statement of claim at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, alleging provincial government agencies including Eastern Health failed to carry out their duties to care for him as a child.

Doe has many brothers and sisters. Some of them are also suing the government.

"[Government officials] knew that there were serious allegations and their investigations were insufficient and their actions were insufficient," said Moore.

"The department refused to take the tough decision and take the children out of there."

Moore's client claims that he was left to be raised by his mother, "Despite the extensive history of concerns related to neglect and abuse documented by government officials upon his birth."

Slapped, kicked and hit

He claims that while in the care of his mother, he was "slapped, kicked and struck with objects including a belt and a broom," that he was tied up for long periods of time, and locked in a bedroom with no access to a washroom.

Doe says his siblings had been removed from the abusive home before he was born, but authorities left him in his mother's care. 

"My client has suffered considerably because of this. He is a deeply troubled individual. They had a duty to protect him and they failed, miserably," said Moore.

Three of the older children were returned to their mother in 1997 until about 2004 when they were all removed by government officials "due to extreme abuse," according to court documents.

Mother convicted

She was subsequently convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm by failure to provide the necessaries of life, unlawful confinement, assault with a weapon and common assault.

In his statement of claim, Doe alleges that Eastern Health and the provincial government were "negligent, reckless and/or willfully blind in allowing Doe to remain under his biological mother's care.