Wed, October 20, 2004

Dad won't give up fight
Man vows to keep battling church over transfusions

Banished Jehovah's Witness Lawrence Hughes vowed yesterday to continue his battle against his former church as lawyers mounted another attack against him. Hughes said he has already lost one daughter to the religious organization and fears his two remaining girls may someday fall to the same fate.

"I've got two (other) daughters that I don't want to die because of this religion," Hughes said outside court, after a hearing to strike down his lawsuit was delayed.

"To me that is a big enough motivation. I'll do anything to get them out of this religion," he said.

"If it means going through a lengthy court battle, I'll do it."

Hughes' other daughter, Bethany, then 16, became national news when she fought blood transfusions on religious grounds despite suffering from leukemia.

The teenager eventually succumbed to her illness Sept. 5, 2002, seven months after she was diagnosed with the disease.

In August, Hughes filed a nearly $1-million lawsuit on behalf of himself and Bethany's estate arguing church members and Watch Tower Society lawyers were responsible for her death.

The claim alleges fear of damnation in Armageddon was used to convince the teen to shun transfusions.

In court, lawyer Phil Huban, who appeared on behalf of Winnipeg counsel for the dead girl's mom and two other church members, said the hearing to strike the lawsuit will be lengthy.

Hughes' lawyer, Vaughn Marshall agreed, saying it will likely take two days to argue the merits of the case.

And Marshall also said he wants to fight an application to have Hughes removed as the administrator of his daughter's estate, at the same time.

The case is back in court this morning to discuss when those hearings will take place.