Report from Osgoode Hall
June 7, 2012
This may be redundant as the Peterborough media is covering the court case in some detail but I’ll offer a very brief summary of the events of the day.
Mr. Michael Hines, the Board’s lawyer, continued his argument at 9 am and focused his opening comments on case law. Case law in these kinds of challenges favours Boards of Education; consequently, he spent a considerable length of time reviewing one case after another in his efforts to demonstrate to the judges that legal precedent would suggest an outcome favourable to the Board. He then argued the issue of our ‘late’ pursuit of judicial review. Finally, he attempted to demonstrate to the judges that the so-called flip flop in recommendations from the closure of TASS to the closure of PCVS should not have surprised or ‘blindsided’ the PCVS community.
Mr. Rubinoff, our lawyer, then was accorded some time to respond. In his comments Mr. Rubinoff reiterated a challenge to the Board’s position that the school is not ‘closing’, a position the Board is taking in order to avoid the duty of procedural fairness. He went on to argue that our delay in moving to judicial review was reasonable. In terms of case law, he brought to the attention of the judges a case where a Board’s decision affecting 9 schools was overturned in July. He argued that this case should be seen as a precedent to demonstrate that breaches of procedural fairness should override the ‘inconvenience’ of a late decision.
He reiterated our position that the community was, indeed, blindsided by Senior Administration’s late change in recommendation and that we did not have an opportunity to challenge the rationale for that change.
Again, I would remind our supporters that the oral presentations by both lawyers constitute a relatively small portion of either case. The rest is captured in the affidavits with all the attached exhibits and the facta submitted to the judges in advance of June 6 and 7th.
Finally, know that the judges appreciate the importance of their rendering a decision as soon as possible. However, they did not offer a date. Their decision will be faxed to both lawyers and we will be apprised within minutes of that fax. At that point we will notify our supporters as quickly as possible.
Outside of Osgoode Hall a number of PCVS students surrounded our legal team to express their appreciation and to ask some questions. It was a lovely moment, captured I hope, on film by the many photographers in attendance.