Trial begins for City of Guelph in Isabel Warren death
Lawyers for the City of Guelph appeared in provincial court Monday to face safety violation charges in connection with the death of 14-year-old Isabel Warren.
The charges were laid by the Ministry of Labour in connection with the June 2009 incident in which a cinderblock wall in a public park washroom collapsed, killing the teen.
Warren was an accomplished athlete on break during gym class when the collapse happened after she tried to climb onto a baby changing table.
She died after suffering massive head and chest injuries. Her death stunned the community.
The city is accused of “failing to ensure that every part of the structure could resist all loads it was subject to,” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Charges were also laid against the designer and builder, but later dismissed. However, the Ministry of Labour has filed a notice that it will appeal.
Price Teeter, the Ministry of Labour’s lead investigator and the person who filed the charges, was the first person on the stand Monday.
Prosecution and defence lawyers established the facts of the case and questioned Teeter’s credentials and professional background.
In a statement released by the city, Scott Worsfold, deputy city solicitor, says “We hope resolving the issues in this case will help give our community a sense of closure…The city again extends its sincere condolences to Ms. Warren’s family and friends.”
And while the city acknowledges the death was a heart-breaking loss, they say there was nothing more that could have been done.
Worsfold tells CTV News “The city doesn’t build buildings, you hire that out so that somebody can design the building properly and someone can inspect the building properly.”
A joint statement of fact has been submitted by the city and the Ministry of Labour, the city says, to try to reduce the length of the trial.
More witnesses will take the stand as the court proceedings continue on Thursday.