Court of Appeal orders new trial in case of doctor unfairly assessed for Coroner's Office job
REGINA -- A judge has approved a new trial in the case of a Regina man who accused the provinces Chief Forensic Pathologist of racism and sabotaging his chances of getting a job.
In 2011, Dr. Jeffrey Racette applied for a job as a Forensic Pathologist in Saskatchewan. During a routine assessment, Racette claimed he was treated poorly by Dr. Shaun Ladham, the province's only Forensic Pathologist.
Racette alleged that Ladham sabotaged his chances of getting the job and made racist comments in reference to dead bodies in the morgue.
The province argued Racette's allegations were false but in 2017 a jury ruled in Racette's favour. He was granted $5 million for past and future loss of income, pension and benefits as well as aggravated and punitive damages.
The Court of Appeal has approved a new trial, and says there are many grounds of the appeal, including the trial judge admitting irrelevant, inadmissible and prejudicial evidence and improperly inserted himself into witness questioning. The court also said that closing arguments made by Dr. Racette's counsel to the jury were inflammatory and improper.
The lawyer representing Dr. Racette said they are asking the Supreme Court of Canada to grant them leave to file an appeal, in order to deal with what they believe are several errors in the decision.
“One thing that's of concern to us is the way that the court dealt with character evidence,” Bob Hrycan, Racette’s lawyer said. “The court appeared to agree that the government put their client's council in issue or may have, and nevertheless stated that although their client's good character had been placed before the court, we nevertheless introduced too much evidence of bad character. I think that's an issue that may be of interest to the Supreme Court, we'll have to see.”
Dr. Racette's lawyer also added this decision is "heartbreaking" for him as it's something he likely can't afford.
The Ministry of Justice says they are pleased with the decision.