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Morning Brew: February 21, 2008

Posted by Sisi / February 21, 2008

Photo: "BirdBrain," by Midnight Poutine Flickr pooler Azzaelea.

Your morning news roundup for Thursday, February 21st, 2008:

Selwyn House has offered a formal apology and $5 million in compensation to students who claimed to have been molested by ex-teachers. The settlement was filed on Tuesday. Earlier, three former students launched a class action lawsuit naming three teachers: Leigh Seville, James P. Hill and John Aimers. They claimed the sexual abuse dated as far back as the 1960s. None of the allegations have been proven. Seville committed suicide in 1991, Hill's location is unknown, and Aimers denies any wrongdoing. The lawsuit is seeking $19 million in damages - for each student. The plaintiffs' lawyers were approached by over 20 former students who also said they were abused at the school. The judge will decide whether to approve the settlement on April 25.

In other court news, two Quebec workers were charged yesterday with sexual assault involving minors in a Haitian orphanage. Armand Huard, 64, and Denis Rochefort, 59, allegedly committed their crimes between December 2006 and March 2007 in Les Cayes, a port city. The victims are boys aged 13 to 16. This is only the third time that Canadians have been charged for child-sex crimes that happened in another country, thanks to a rarely used provision under the Criminal Code. Apparently Canada has one of the worst records for enforcing the law in cases of crimes committed overseas. Huard and Rochefort didn't enter a plea; they'll remain in custody until a bail hearing is set for this afternoon.

What exactly is the queen's place in this country? It's been asked before, and it's going to be asked again - but this time, in court. The federal government has failed to stop a charter challenge to the monarchy reference in the citizen's oath. The challenge was brought by Charles Roach, a 74-year old Toronto lawyer who has a problem with the crown's connection to slavery. A permanent Canadian resident, he was born a British subject in Trinidad. Roach argues that forcing potential citizens to swear an oath to the queen violates the charter's "freedom of conscience" clause. The case has brought together anti-monarchists of all stripes. To overturn the ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal, the feds will now have to go to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Other Cities: Toronto