After being named
administrator of his daughter Bethany's estate last Aug. 25, Lawrence Hughes
launched a $1-million wrongful death lawsuit on her behalf against the
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, Edmonton's Cross Cancer
Institute, several doctors and several Jehovah's Witnesses.
Hughes, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and
several other defendants wanted the administration order set aside on the
grounds that Lawrence Hughes had failed to disclose relevant facts when he
made his application.
refused to set the
"This has been a
very good day," Lawrence Hughes said outside the courthouse. "My
daughter Bethany will have the opportunity to speak for the very first time
and tell what happened to her. She was a sick, frail child who was pressured,
coerced and brainwashed by the Watchtower Society."
[Lawrence Hughes, in his personal capacity
as well as Administrator of the Estate, is represented by Calgary lawyer
Bethany Hughes died
Sept. 5, 2002, less than six months after a series of blood transfusions she
was given against her wishes. Alberta Children's Services assumed custody of
the girl after she refused conventional treatment for the disease. Lawrence
Hughes, who had been a
until after Bethany's diagnosis, also battled to have his daughter receive
Bethany fought the transfusions,
trying to pull the medical tubes from her arms while being treated at Alberta
"If Bethany had
accepted the blood transfusions, she would have been . . . shunned by her
family and all of her friends," Hughes said. "If Bethany had
accepted the blood transfusions, she was taught to believe, God would have
destroyed her at Armageddon."
Hughes said that it is
unfortunate that Bethany's father "cannot come to grips with the reality
that Bethany's tragic death was due to her terminal leukemia."
"Mr. Hughes and I
. . . were present in court proceedings on July 2, 2002 when Provincial Court
Judge Vickery ruled Bethany's leukemia was terminal and the treatment
recommendation was palliative care without blood transfusions," Hughes
said in a statement. "It is offensive and deeply disturbing for Mr.
Hughes to now blame Bethany's death on me, Bethany's friends, her doctors,
the hospital in Edmonton and our faith."
said in his ruling that although there was a
failure to disclose some material information, appointing Lawrence Hughes
administrator was appropriate.
alleging that his daughter opposed the transfusions because of the pressures
exerted upon her by the defendants,"
said. "No other member of the family has come forward to vigorously
pursue such a claim. Whether there is a legitimate claim is yet to be
Hughes, the Watchtower Society
and the other defendants are pursuing an action to strike Lawrence Hughes'
statement of claim,
said, and are entitled to
"Whether the claim
is legitimate or not is a decision to be made by . . . this court on another
day. If I were to grant their application today, they would effectively be
successful in striking the statement of claim without a hearing on the
(c) National Post 2005