Surakkas claim daughter’s right to live was deprived

Family can now proceed with lawsuit claiming daughter's rights were violated

The Surakka family is moving forward one step at a time after a recent decision in their favour last week.

“This is on path to righting a wrong and providing accountability,” said Mark Surakka, Dudley’s stepdad.

Rosemarie Surakka can now proceed with a lawsuit claiming the rights of her daughter, Lisa Cheryl Dudley, were violated when police failed to properly investigate a shots fired call.

Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes ruled the charter case can go ahead after federal government lawyers applied to have the case dismissed in February. They argued a person’s rights are not transferrable and are extinguished when they die.

The Surakkas claim Dudley was deprived of her right to life, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and are seeking damages.

In her reasons for judgment, Holmes wrote Surakka “articulates a reasoned and coherent basis for a reconsideration of those authorities, drawing from subsequent developments in Canadian law and international human rights law. It is therefore not plain and obvious that her claim has no reasonable prospect for success.”

Dudley and her boyfriend Guthrie McKay were shot in their rural home on Greenwood Drive in 2008, which according to a statement of facts entered in court last year, had housed a marijuana grow operation.

McKay was pronounced dead on the scene, while Dudley, who was shot twice in the neck, was paralyzed from her injuries. She survived four days inside the house before she was found by a neighbour. She died en-route to hospital.

The police officers who responded to the shots fired call patrolled the area, but didn’t leave their vehicles or speak to the complainant.

They also didn’t follow up with the case. The senior officer at the time, Cpl. Mike White, was given a written reprimand and docked one day’s pay.

Three people have been charged with the couple’s murder. Last year Jack Woodruff pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Justin MacKinnon and Bruce Main have also been charged with first degree murder.

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