Common-law partner of Nova Scotia gunman added as defendant in estate class action lawsuit

A property destroyed by fire registered in the name of the shooter during the Nova Scotia mass shooting, in Portapique, Nova Scotia on May 8, 2020.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The families of the victims of the 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia have added the shooter’s spouse, brother and brother-in-law as defendants to the original class action lawsuit against the killer’s estate.

Documents filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Feb. 5 add the names of Lisa Banfield, James Blair Banfield and Brian Brewster to the notice seeking damages for death, destruction of property and personal injury.

The families’ attorney said in a press release that the changes to the proposed class action were made following criminal charges filed Dec. 4 against the three men, alleging they unlawfully supplied ammunition to the shooter.

Police say the alleged ammunition offenses took place in the month before the April 18-19 killings, but those charged had no prior knowledge of what the shooter, Gabriel Wortman, was up to. intention to do.

However, Sandra McCulloch, an attorney for the families, says in a press release “there is support for potential civil liability between these parties and the families and individuals we represent,” and she says the measure was taken “in order to preserve their rights”. as new details emerge.

The statement contains allegations that have yet to be tested in court.

The court document alleges that Lisa Banfield was “aware of and facilitated Wortman’s preparations,” including his hoarding of firearms, ammunition, police paraphernalia and outfitting a replica vehicle of the RCMP, and she knew or should have known of his intentions.

The action also alleges that his brother and Brewster acquired some of the ammunition used by Wortman and that they knew or should have known of his intentions.

A defense attorney for James Blair Banfield said his client had no comment, and attorneys for Lisa Banfield did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tom Singleton, Brewster’s criminal defense attorney, said in a phone interview that he would consult with his client about the lawsuit.

However, he noted that civil cases “can drag on for years, and the people filing them want to cover every possible angle, and sometimes it’s years before…they realize there’s no nothing in there.” He added that in civil litigation, “the rule seems to be to add all the parties you can in the hope that something sticks.”

The families’ original notice of action was filed in May last year against the 51-year-old denturist’s estate, and it has been amended four times.

The most recent appraisal of the killer’s estate puts its value at around $2.1 million, including $705,000 in cash seized by police from a property in Portapique.

The shooter was shot dead by a police officer at a gas station in Enfield, Nova Scotia on April 19 after killing 22 people during a 13-hour rampage wearing an RCMP uniform and driving a replica a police vehicle.

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