TTC says Bloor-Yonge subway push victim was standing too close to platform edge in legal defence
Published Wednesday, June 8, 2022 4:01PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 8, 2022 4:04PM EDT
The TTC says a woman now suing it for negligence after she was pushed onto the tracks at Bloor-Yonge station two months ago was negligent herself because she was standing too close to the platform’s edge.
In its statement of defence, the TTC says that Shamsa Al-Balushi “chose to stand close to the edge of the platform and failed to pay due care and attention to her surroundings,” in the moments before she was pushed onto the tracks at the station on April 17.
It’s a move the Al-Balushi’s lawyer says is akin to victim-blaming.
“I read that and I hit the roof – I was so angry,” Darryl Singer told CP24. “It’s kind of like blaming the rape victim for wearing a short skirt.”
The TTC’s defence also assigns most liability in the incident to the alleged assailant, 45-year-old Edith Frayne.
She was charged criminally with attempted murder a day after the incident.
“Where are you supposed to go, especially when it’s busy, it’s offensive to say that if she hadn’t been standing there – (Frayne) wouldn’t have done this,” Singer said.
The TTC’s statement of defence also states that Al-Balushi should not have been travelling alone on public transit “when she knew or ought to have known that it was unsafe for her to do so.”
Both sides have now requested the matter be heard by a jury. Singer is seeking $1 million in damages plus costs for his client.
Singer said that the attention the incident has received, coupled with the video circulated about what transpired, would convinced the average TTC rider that it’s unfair to blame her client for what transpired.
“In a million years a jury is never going to accept that defence in Toronto,” Singer said.
Singer’s statement of claim argues the TTC “did not implement sufficient safety protocols on the subway platform” that would have prevented Al-Balushi from falling onto the tracks.
It also argues it took an unreasonable amount of time for the train in the station to be moved so Al-Balushi, who suffered a broken rib and other injuries, could be lifted out from a small space underneath the lip of the platform’s edge.
For its part, the TTC says “that at all material times, it took such care as in all the circumstances of the case were reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises were reasonably safe while on said premises.”
The TTC’s lawyers also argue that Al-Balushi “knew or was familiar” with her alleged attacker and “failed to remove herself from a potential situation of danger.”
Singer says “there’s no truth” to the allegation his client knew Frayne.
“The TTC is grasping at straws,” he said.
Asked specifically whether its statement of defence blames Al-Balushi for her own assault, and how its counsel plans to prove that Al-Balushi and Frayne knew one another, the TTC and its lawyers did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Police at the time of the incident said there was no indication that Al-Balushi and Frayne knew one another.
Singer says the main thrust of his argument should the suit go to trial is that the number of people falling into tracks over the years meant the TTC should have implemented platform edge doors at its stations.