Former Harrison Village superintendent awarded damages for assault

Weber still suffering from effects of injuries by former employee

A man who was assaulted by a former employee in Harrison Hot Springs has been awarded almost $400,000 by a Supreme Court judge.

Glen Weber was walking in his neighbourhood on July 28, 2007 when he was attacked by Michael deBrouwer, who was a Village public works employee at the time.

Weber was confronted by deBrouwer while out for a morning walk. deBrouwer hit him in the face and knocked him to the ground. Court documents state he then punched Weber a number of times in the head, and kicked him repeatedly. Weber’s wife witnessed much of the attack and called for help. Weber’s injuries included a concussion, a fractured nose, and several facial fractures, and deBrouwer was convicted of assault causing bodily harm on July 29, 2008.

The amount awarded by Supreme Court judge Justice Greyell followed a hearing of assessment of damages.

The two men knew each other from working at the Village.

Weber had recently resigned from his position as superintendent of public works, in which he was deBrouwer’s supervisor for about two years. Court documents released last week outline the growing tension between the two men while they worked together. deBrouwer had been disciplined a number of times, and “showed intransigence and an unwillingness to follow instructions give to him.”

They had several heated discussions, leading to Weber taking stress leave and then resigning in May 2007.

After the attack, Weber and his wife left Harrison to live in Victoria, and eventually to an undisclosed location in B.C’s interior. Weber’s long recovery is outlined in the judgement, handed down on July 13.

Weber had attempted to find employment in a position he was previously employed in. He was hired in Montrose, but was unable to handle the work due to “residual effects of post traumatic stress disorder.”

He and his wife bought a small motel, where they live quietly and without being listed in the phone book.

He told the court he still fears further retribution by deBrouwer.

The total amount awarded was $561,688.08, based on special damages ($11,688.08), loss of pension benefits ($50,000), loss of future earning capacity ($200,000), loss of earnings to the date of trial ($150,000) and non-pecuniary damages ($150,000). He was 49 at the time of the assault, and had moved his way up through municipal works to the higher position. He had hoped to work for the Village until retirement, and enjoy the quiet community. He had been making $75,625 a year when he resigned.

However, that amount was reduced by 30 per cent for Weber’s failure to follow certain doctor’s recommendations which may have helped him recover sooner.

Weber walked with a cane for months, had difficulty speaking and had nasal surgery to correct a distorted nasal septum damaged in the assault. He has been through counseling, speech therapy and has seen numerous doctors.

The actual award was $393,181.65, plus costs of the application.

Current Village CAO Ted Tisdale confirmed this week that Michael deBrouwer no longer works for the Village of Harrison.

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