CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- A grieving father said he
would continue his crusade against Jehovah's Witnesses and their prohibition
against blood transfusions after a court decision partially cleared the way
for an $800,000 wrongful death lawsuit.
Hughes filed the claim on behalf of his 17-year-old daughter, Bethany, who
died from acute myeloid leukemia in 2002. She repeatedly refused conventional
treatment for her leukemia because of her religious beliefs.
as executor of her estate, blames the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society,
the religious order that governs the faith, for influencing his daughter to
believe that the Bible forbids blood transfusions.
is a great day for justice. This is a great day for children," Hughes
told a news conference Tuesday after a judge ruled he could proceed with part
of his case.
court is saying that a religious sect or cult can be held responsible for the
injury they inflict on others, whether it relates to deliberately giving out
misleading medical information or using institutional coercion which results
in the death of a child," Hughes said.
tightly disciplined religious sect believes the Bible forbids transfusions,
though specifics have gradually been eased over the years.
in 2004, Hughes' suit had stalled in the courts as defendants tried to have
it thrown out. However, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Patricia
ruled Friday that a scaled-down version of the
claim could move forward.
Hughes cannot proceed with his claim against the Watch Tower Society, he can
move head with a suit against two lawyers, Shane Heath Brady and David Miles
, who acted for both Bethany and her mother,
, when they fought the transfusions in court and
also represent the society. Both lawyers are Jehovah's Witnesses.
dismissed the claim against the Watch Tower
Society because, she said, the lawsuit did not question the sincerity of
said he had not ruled out an appeal to allow him to proceed against the Watch
Tower Society, but he considers his case against the lawyers a coup.
wrote in her ruling that because of their own
beliefs, the lawyers were not in a position to advise
dismisses that notion.
just silly and irrelevant to the action," he told The Associated Press
her father left the church and petitioned the court to enforce the
transfusions. The court ruled she was pressured by her religion and didn't
have a free, informed will.
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