Six victims in Mississauga bombing suing owners of restaurant
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, August 21, 2018 9:01AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 21, 2018 7:51PM EDT
Six victims of a bombing at a popular Indian restaurant in Mississauga are suing the owners of the establishment for $6 million for allegedly failing to take “proactive steps” to boost security in order to protect customers.
The May 24th bombing at the Bombay Bhel restaurant near Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue injured a total of 15 people ranging in age from 23 to 69.
Three of those people were initially rushed to hospital with critical injuries but their conditions quickly improved and they were upgraded to stable condition in the hours following the blast. The other 12 victims, meanwhile, all sustained minor shrapnel-related injuries.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, attorney Darryl Singer said that numerous people have come forward to his firm with information suggesting that the owners of the restaurant were aware of threats prior to the bombing but failed to take “proactive steps” to protect patrons.
He refused to name the source of that information but said that it was “common knowledge” among a number of sources that he deemed “credible.”
“It is our position that the owners knew or ought to have known that there was an issue with security and that they ought to have been more alert to protecting their patrons,” he said. “The result of their inaction is the fact that our clients have been severely injured. None of our clients have been back to work, they have suffered surgeries, tremendous psychological damage similar to post traumatic stress and their families have been put to the test in terms of having to take care of their now-injured adult children and siblings.”
Owners were ‘negligently blind’
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, Peel Regional Police said that investigators have "never received any reports of threats towards the restaurant, owners or staff," nor have they learned of any information suggesting "that there had been previous threats that had not been reported to police."
The 18-page statement of claim against the corporation that owns the restaurant, however, alleges that management was “willfully, intentionally and/or negligently blind to the real and actual threat of the bombing.”
The statement of claim also suggests that the bombing was carried out as a result of a “turf war between rival business associates,” a theory that police said that they have "no information" to support.
It goes on to allege that the owners of the restaurant “failed to hire a sufficient amount of security personnel and/or failed to provide security personnel with appropriate training given that they were aware” of the threat.
Furthermore, the statement of claim points out that the bombing took place at 10:32 p.m. and likely would have been averted had the doors of the restaurant been locked when they were supposed to at 10:30 p.m.
“Had the doors been closed on time, the bombing would not have happened inside the restaurant,” the statement says.
No arrests made
The explosion took place as two separate birthday parties were being held inside the busy restaurant.
At the time, police said that there were number of children under the age of 10 inside, though none of them were injured.
One day after the explosion, police released a surveillance camera image of two suspects that were seen walking into the establishment and planting an improvised explosive device immediately prior to the blast but no arrests have been made to date.
Speaking with reporters at the offices of Diamond and Diamond Personal Injury Lawyers, Singer said that while police are doing a “fine job” with the case, they have been less than forthcoming about the status of the investigation.
The aim of the lawsuit, he said, is in part to get answers for victims who have “grown frustrated” with the general lack of information about what transpired.
In the subsequent interview with CP24, Singer said that the frustration felt by his clients over the lack of information about the case and their perception that nobody from the political realm “seems to care” drove their desire to launch the lawsuit “more than the money” did.
He said that many of his clients still have shrapnel in their bodies and are dealing with insomnia and anxiety. One of his clients, he said, underwent two surgeries as a result of her injuries and has had trouble going to any restaurant since the blast.
“In addition to the physical injuries the ongoing psychological injuries are even more traumatic and will take much longer to heal and the biggest part of that healing process for them will be to get some answers and some closure. This lawsuit will allow us to move in that direction faster than the police can move,” he said.
Victims release statement
Singer said that the six plaintiffs that are a part of the suit that his firm is launching are all members of two families who were eating together at the restaurant at the time.
Some of the victims were in attendance at Tuesday’s news conference, though they did not speak with reporters. Instead, attorney Jeremy Diamond read a statement on their behalf.
“It is our belief that this tragic incident could have been prevented,” he said. “We feel that the restaurant owner and management failed to protect our safety. We are victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and we believe that we were carnage in a turf war between individuals we did not even know.”
The owners of the Bombay Bhel restaurant have not yet responded to the lawsuit.