Battered Woman Can't Sue Over Ex-Husband's Deadly Rampage

Date: 
Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Jeremy Sandler, Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2001

A B.C. woman whose estranged common-law husband murdered her best friend, shot and wounded her 12-year-old daughter and attempted to torch her home had her lawsuit against the RCMP and the federal and provincial attorneys general dismissed Tuesday. 

In the first case of its kind in Canada, Bonnie Mooney was seeking more than $400,000 in damages for the authorities' failure to prevent her ex-partner Roland Kruska's deadly rampage at her Cluculz Lake home on April 29,1996. Kruska, 47, burst into Mooney's rural home, killing her best friend Hazel White and wounding Mooney's daughter Michelle, then 12, with a sawed-off shotgun. He then tried to burn the house down and killed himself with a shot to the head. 

Five months earlier, Kruska served 21 days in jail for an assault on Mooney, during which he strangled her into unconsciousness and on March 11, Kruska chased Mooney through the streets of Prince George in his jeep. 

Mooney said after both incidents she notified RCMP, but claimed the police, in particular Constable Craig Andrichuk whom she spoke with after the March 11 incident, failed to take reasonable steps to protect her and members of her family. She also alleged that the RCMP had inadequately trained its members with regard to domestic violence. 

In his judgment, B.C. Supreme Court justice Ross Collver wrote that while he found Andrichuk did not fulfill his duty to Bonnie Mooney on March 11, he agreed with the officer's contention that nobody could be absolutely protected. 

"It can reasonably be suggested that the police are guardians, not guarantors, of public well-being," Collver wrote." The officer's inaction did not materially increase, the risk of harm to the extent that he must bear responsibility for Kruska's acts." 

Andrichuk did not return phone calls Tuesday and RCMP spokeswoman Danielle Efford said it is the force's policy not to comment on lawsuits. 

Mooney was also unavailable for comment, but her lawyer, Henry C. Wood, voiced displeasure with the ruling, "This represents a lot of trauma in Bonnie's life and the legal case itself is a lot of hard work and anxiety and this isn't the result we had hoped for," he said. 

"While our initial reaction...is to pursue an appeal, in order to fully explore some of the legal issues that arise in this case, we'd like to think about it for a day or two." 

Wood said the Mooney family is still suffering because of the attack. 

"They 're continuing they're long process of coping with the aftermath of this horrible incident," he said. It produced a lot of physical and psychological harm that still haunts them." 

Court documents indicate Mooney, has sold the home where the attack took place and left the Cariboo region. Her doctor testified she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Michelle Mooney, now 17, is estranged from her family, out of school, and "very uncertain about her future." She requires more surgery on her shoulder once she stops growing.