The BC Human Rights Tribunal will make a decision on the Guy Earle case after respondent Salam Ismail submits his closing arguments in writing next Friday.
Today’s hearing saw only one side present its closing statement. Sam Ismail, who represented his brother throughout the hearings, told the tribunal that it was very difficult to handle this case without the benefit of lawyers, secretaries and typists.
“I would ask for this hearing to be adjourned for a week so I can really put my case together and present it properly,” he said. “I feel it was shoved down my throat and I had no choice but to stay there all night to get what I wanted and I couldn’t. I would like you to review that and have some fairness in this case.”
In her closing argument, Lorna Pardy’s lawyer, Devyn Cousineau, asked tribunal member Murray Geiger Adams to find her client’s witnesses more credible than the respondent’s.
“All of Miss Pardy’s witnesses had a reason to remember this incident,” she said. “For Miss Pardy, this was a big event in her life, and it has been huge in her life for the past three years.”
Cousineau claimed Ismael’s witnesses, which included five comedians, Salam Ismail and a Zesty’s server, had foggy recollections of a three-year-old incident that was not a very significant event in their lives.
“Their evidence may be useful in some respect, but to the extent they conflict with Miss Pardy and her witnesses, Miss Pardy’s evidence is preferred.”
Cousineau dismissed testimony that suggested Pardy and her girlfriend were making out at their table.
“Nothing turns on this,” she said. “But respondents tend to point to this as a justification with what happened afterwards. This gesture is significant. It appeared to draw Mr Earle’s attention to their sexual orientation.”
Cousineau told the tribunal that Earle’s alleged behaviour and Zesty’s alleged inaction violated Pardy’s right under Section 8 of the BC Human Rights Code to not be denied “any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public.”
She alleged that Earle targeted the women on the basis of their sex and sexual orientation, two grounds protected from discrimination under the provincial human rights code.
Cousineau argued that for the purpose of the tribunal, Earle was, in fact, an employee of Zesty’s. “If he’s an employee, then Zesty’s is liable for the conduct of their employee in this incident,” she added.
The hearing will resume next week.