B.C. Ferries Lawsuit Sunk By Fees

‘Unless you are wealthy, you won't be able to afford court in B.C.’ writes high-profile lawyer

One of B.C.’s best-known lawyers, Peter Ritchie, who defended serial-killer Willie Pickton, has written a searing statement on behalf of another client: two teens whose father drowned when B.C.’s Queen of the North ferry sank in 2006, condemning the astronomical fees B.C. courts charge for civil cases (in this case, at least $40,000). Ritchie said that in Alberta the trial fees would have been $800 and in Ontario $645. “If you are wondering how ordinary people pay for these excessive government fees, the answer is simple. They don’t,” he wrote. Because the cost of a civil trial was prohibitively high, Ritchie was forced to settle out of court. “If one of your loved ones dies because of negligent actions onboard a British Columbia ferry, don’t go looking for justice in the province of British Columbia. Unless you are wealthy, you won’t be able to afford court in B.C. Maybe the B.C. government expected these girls to raise money by doing more baby-sitting? Maybe they should have held a bake sale at their Penticton high school?,” wrote Ritchie. “The people of B.C. will never get a chance to hear in court why or how two people died in the BC Ferries disaster in March 2006. Very sadly, two lovely teenage girls from Penticton will never know what happened to their father. Our so-called justice system has let them down.”

The Province