The family of a boy murdered on the Kahkewistahaw First Nation two years ago is now suing the government of Saskatchewan.
Six-year-old Lee Bonneau was found beaten to death with a stick and a rock in August 2013 on the First Nation, after he got separated from his foster mother while she was at a bingo. Another boy, 10 years old at the time, is believed to have killed Lee. However, since he was under 12 at the time he can never be charged.
Lee’s father Dave Bonneau confirmed that the lawsuit was filed this week through Merchant Law Group.
“We just need the government to be held accountable for their actions,” said Bonneau.
In April, dozens of witnesses testified over the course of a two-week coroner’s inquest into Bonneau’s death. Court heard how Lee was taken from his family and put into the care of the Ministry of Social Services. He bounced around between a number of foster homes before his tragic death.
“For children to be lured away and murdered underneath government care is totally ridiculous and this shouldn’t be happening to anybody’s family and anybody’s children,” said Bonneau.
The father is still devastated by the loss of his boy. He said the loss of his son changed his whole life and his family’s life, admitting that you can never be the same person after an incident like that.
Lawyer Tony Merchant is representing the Bonneau family.
“When you shine light on wrongs, wrongs are avoided in the future,” he contended.
He said the statement of claim was filed Thursday at 4 p.m. The document alleges that by its failure to adequately train, supervise, and reprimand employees, the government has been negligent and breached the standard of care and caused harm to the family. It also alleges the province is negligent in failing to provide adequate funding to properly ensure the safety of the children under its custody.
The claim reads:
“The Defendant is choosing to do nothing because it does not think the damages awarded by the courts will be as high as the cost of actually fixing the problem.”
The claim also alleges the Bonneau family has endured a number of hardships, including pain and suffering, death, emotional trauma, anxiety and the loss of the ability to work.
The family is seeking general and punitive damages, although no specific amount is listed.
“The lawsuit is about the wrongs by social services. It’s not in the least about money,” Merchant conceded.
The government confirmed that it received the statement of claim Friday morning and because the matter is before the courts, the province will not be commenting further.
A statement of claim contains allegations that have not been proven in court.