Ensuring a Proper and Respectful Statement of Defence for the Christidis Family
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This petition has been edited since it initially opened.
Western University’s Associate Vice-President of Student Experience met with us. She emphasized Western’s ongoing sympathy to Andrea’s family and friends and how Andrea’s death continues to resonate with so many people on and off campus.
Western states they "regret that the previous statement did not reflect their values". Western has dismissed their previous counsel and has taken steps to retain a new counsel, Black Sutherland LLP, to file a new Statement of Defence on their behalf.
This petition will remain open until we see the new Statement of Defence and are assured that it is free from victim blaming or inappropriate statements.
We want to update everyone in regards to where Western University currently stands in respect to a student that was once their own, as the they state the "previous statements were non-reflective of the University’s beliefs".
(Below is a summary of what happened to Andrea Christidis, and main events surrounding the case)
On October 7th, 2015 Andrea Christidis, an 18-year-old, first-year Health Sciences student, was walking back to her residence. It was a Wednesday evening around 10:00 pm. Andrea was walking on the east side of Lambton Drive, north towards University Drive when she was struck by a vehicle driven by Jared DeJong.
DeJong had just left the Spoke, Western University’s campus pub, and had a blood alcohol content of over twice the legal limit.
Two days later, Andrea Christidis was declared brain dead and passed away.
Andrea’s father, Christos Christidis, who suffered emotional distress, depression and anxiety from the loss of his daughter, died on May 31, 2016, just two weeks before Dejong was sentenced after pleading guilty to “over 80 causing death”.
In October 2017, the Christidis family filed a lawsuit against Dejong, his father, Western and it’s University students’ council (which owns the Spoke), seeking damages on behalf of the young woman’s estate and for loss of income by both Christidis and her father.
An agreed statement of facts heard in the case revealed that Dejong was on Western University’s campus drinking with friends at the Spoke for three or four hours.
Witnesses said road conditions at the time were “perfect” and that Dejong’s vehicle was seen travelling very fast and at one point cut in front of a bus. Video from the bus also showed him driving on the wrong side of the road.
The car went through two intersections without stopping, causing other drivers to take evasive action, before it jumped the curb and struck Christidis, throwing her 10 metres.
Witnesses estimated DeJong was travelling 90 to 100 km/hr in a 20 km/hr zone.
In their own court filing, the USC denied even serving DeJong alcohol and similarly denied or pleaded ignorance to all of the family’s other allegations.
The USC also added the bar's security company, Innovative Securities Management, as a third-party defendant. Now brought into the proceedings by an employer, ISM admitted to the claim that DeJong was served alcohol at The Spoke, whereas the USC denied it.
After defending their own conduct, the defendants allege that Christidis was negligently responsible for her own death. Their claim included that she didn't notice the vehicle, wasn't wearing her glasses, wore dark clothing, was texting and purposefully moved into danger, among several other claims.
"She had the last best chance to avoid the incident but failed to do so, although she could have done so by the exercise of reasonable care," they claim. "She was the author of her own misfortune."
This claim by Westerns previous legal team contained victim blaming remarks and callous comments. This Statement of Defence is to be refiled by a new legal team.
Andrea was walking back to her residence
Andrea was on the SIDEWALK
Andrea wore READING glasses
Witnesses were around and saw DeJong’s speeding car suddenly lose control on Lambton drive. By no means did Andrea MOVE into danger.
ANDREA WAS ON THE SIDEWALK AND WAS STRUCK FROM BEHIND, she had not seen DeJong’s car, she had NO time to react.
For the previous legal team to claim "She was the author of her own misfortune” was sickening, and we are glad to hear these statements were not in line with Western’s beliefs.
Most importantly, we want everyone to know that Andrea was by NO means “negligent” for her death.
You are signing this petition to show support for the Christidis family, reinforce the memory of Andrea, and serve as a stand against victim blaming in all impaired driving cases.
SAID Western is happy with how Western has responded to this petition, going so far as to ask our opinion on how to remedy the situation in a formal meeting. We are looking forward to their new statement and advocating with them in the future.
Thank you for all of your support,
The President of SAID Western
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